SUGAR LAND – A University of Houston-Victoria School of Nursing graduate recently was put in charge of the 74 school nurses in the Fort Bend Independent School District.
Following the retirement of Pat Bennett, Diana Barton took over July 1 as Fort Bend ISD lead nurse. She supervises all school nurses and their assistants, and collaborates with district administrators.
“What I’m most looking forward to about the new job is having a platform to inspire school district nurses to be better care providers,” Barton said.
In 2009, Barton earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UHV, completing an educational pursuit she started 28 years earlier. Barton obtained her degree in one year while working full time as a school nurse at Pecan Grove Elementary School in Richmond. She was selected by UHV nursing faculty as the spring 2009 outstanding undergraduate.
“I am pleased that Ms. Barton is the new lead nurse for the Fort Bend ISD,” said Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the UHV School of Nursing. “I’m proud that her success at UHV has paid off in her professional career. Fort Bend students are in good hands with her in charge.”
Many UHV nursing students go to Fort Bend ISD for their pediatric or community clinical experiences. Barton expects the strong relationship between the district and university to continue.
“The nursing students that have been placed in the district have worked well with our nursing staff,” she said. “UHV also has provided some continuing education opportunities for our nurses. It’s a win-win situation.”
Tart invited Barton to serve on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the UHV School of Nursing. The group meets each semester to discuss issues related to the school and the surrounding Fort Bend nursing community.
Barton worked for 19 years at Pecan Grove Elementary School before serving for two years as the school nurse at James Bowie Middle School in Richmond. She said both experiences will help her create health-based initiatives for nurses to implement in the schools. Last fall, the Fort Bend ISD had 69,463 students.
“I know where our students need to be with their health,” she said. “There is an emphasis right now on overweight children. Because of my past experience at the elementary and middle schools, I have a better idea of how to come up with a plan to help those children.”
Barton is embracing the new elements of her job, including working with different administrative offices, such as student support services and human resources. She said her UHV education has provided her with confidence in her new role.
“After being away from schoolwork for 28 years to take care of my family, getting back to the rigors of academics at UHV really gave me confidence about what I could achieve,” she said.