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Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Sarah DeCato

Maine DOE Team member Sarah DeCato is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Sarah in the question and answer below.

What are your roles with DOE?

The role of School Nurse Specialist, works directly with the Statewide School Nurse Consultant, to provide school nursing leadership, consultation, and direction across the State of Maine. The School Nurse Specialist works as a team within Coordinated School Health to assist in synthesizing and disseminating information as it relates to trends in health care, school nursing practice, and health related policy changes. The School Nurse Specialist plans and provides educational offerings as they relate to special projects.

Sample focus areas include:

1) Establishing regional Communities of Practice (CoP) for school nurses statewide
2) Establishing communication interdepartmentally and externally with partners around the creation of a Child Care Health Consulting (CCHC) network as it relates to the role of the school nurse

What do you like best about your job?

I love working with the people I work with and having the opportunity to impact student health statewide working alongside school nurses. I enjoy collaborating with other departments within state government to best meet the needs of the populations we serve. Having a job where my expertise can be put to good use, where there is also the opportunity work/life balance is important and I am fortunate to find that here at the DOE.

How or why did you decide on this career?

The bulk of my professional nursing career has been working with or for children. Having worked in the non-profit world a number of years both running one of our former Healthy Maine Partnerships and while managing a 21st Century Afterschool Program grant, I realized I needed to become a nurse to make a larger impact on public health. I received my undergrad in nursing from the University of Southern Maine, and my graduate degree, with a focus in community/population health nursing, from New Mexico State University. I’ve worked with children as both a Public Health Nurse for the MeCDC and as a former Director of Health/School Nurse for a private high school. In my free time, I have served as adjunct faculty in the population health nursing program at the University of New England, helping shape the next generation of nurses.

What do you like to do outside of work for fun?

I enjoy being a chicken farmer, gardening, kayaking, hiking, biking, skiing, and going on camping adventures with my family. I also enjoy listening to live music and reading (but not at the same time).

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