Nerissa Conley, RN, PEL-CSN, is our full-time School Nurse.
Nurse Conley worked as a nurse clinician on the medical surgical-oncology floor at Advocate South Suburban Hospital before returning to school to become a licensed school nurse. She worked as a school nurse in the Blue Island School District for several years and then as a nurse supervisor in a Chicago Public Schools specialized services school before coming to Morgan Park Academy in 2015.
Nurse Conley holds a B.S. in Dietetics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Science degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, a B.S. in Nursing from Purdue University, and a Professional Educator’s License as a Certified School Nurse from the State of Illinois.
What do you enjoy most about Nursing?
Helping others. I love helping people feel better and supporting people in their time of need. Everyone has a moment in life when they struggle with something (physically, emotionally, etc.). It is very rewarding to feel like I might have helped someone overcome a challenge in some way.
Why did you choose to work at MPA?
There is a School Nurse saying that “Healthy children learn better.” In an era where many student support programs have been cut from schools, I wanted to work in a place that strives to support the whole child, whether that be academically, physically, emotionally, creatively, etc. Morgan Park Academy is an institution that is supportive of their students both inside and outside of the classroom.
What are your favorite moments with students?
When younger students come into my office, they often are upset and crying about having gotten hurt. They are scared and emotional because they are unsure of their condition. I make a few jokes and treat their injuries, and by the time they leave, this child that was just screaming and crying is now calm and laughing and waving to their friends in the hallway. It always makes me smile.
What do you want students to take away from having known you?
Two things: 1) I want the student to know that their health is important; and 2) that they should always practice self-care. People generally don’t think about their health until there is a problem. I believe in being proactive, so when I have the opportunity, I encourage the students take care of themselves (eat right, sleep right, etc.) and to speak up when they feel that things are abnormal with their bodies. I believe that teaching them how to care for their bodies and injuries will equip them with the knowledge they need to take care of themselves later in life and hopefully provide some prevention along the way.