New nursing director faces challenges at ECISD

Before she got into nursing, Becky Rhodes, Ector County ISD’s new director of nursing and health services wore a variety of hats.
In her fourth year of school nursing and her 14th in the profession, Rhodes started with ECISD in July and before that worked for Dimmitt and Hereford ISD as a nurse.
Rhodes replaces Laura Mathew, who resigned in March.
Rhodes has worked on a medical telemetry unit, joined the Air Force and was in the Nurse Corps. Rhodes spent four years on active duty at Travis Air Force Base in California.
Rhodes graduated from University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio with a bachelor of science degree in nursing.
She also is working toward her master of science in nursing and is a Nationally Certified School Nurse through the National Board for Certification of School Nurses.
Coming to work for a school district in the middle of a pandemic has been a challenge, Rhodes said.
“I knew it would be a challenge,” she said. It also was a chance to be creative and figure out how to function and handle COVID while trying to go about life in as normal a way as possible.
Rhodes is married and has a daughter who is in kindergarten.
She said her while family has been impacted by COVID.
Rhodes supervises 53 nurses, including health aides and sub nurses who fill in as needed.
She was looking forward to the holiday break and being able to unplug and spend time with her family.
“But I’m also apprehensive about there being a spike,” Rhodes said. “I think we’re all kind of expecting it and hoping for the best that people will make wise decisions.”
Since arriving at ECISD, Rhodes said she has been amazed at the nurses she works with.
She added that the nurses are busier now than they ever have been.
“… They step up and they show up every single day. They work long, hard hours trying to make sure that COVID isn’t in their buildings and they take it really personally when there is a positive case in their building. They just really try to do their best and the best for everyone. I’ve had nurses at 1 a.m. putting in reports because they don’t want to get behind,” Rhodes said.
Asked what she enjoys most about her job, after thinking about it, she said it’s the people.
“These nurses they are amazing and they have made a huge difference in why I’m here and how it’s gone,” Rhodes said.
In an email, Alicia Syverson, assistant superintendent-student and school support, asked “What kind of Nurse would be willing to step away from their current comfort zone to step in to lead a Nursing and Health Services Department in the midst of a global pandemic? Becky Rhodes!”
“Nurse Rhodes is a Nationally Certified School Nurse with a diverse background. She has brought a spirit of collaboration that was necessary for the development of the COVID-19 protocols and systems that have proven to protect our students and staff.”
Her email signature says In Health and Kindness.
“That sums up her understanding of the magnitude of her responsibility to keep people healthy and safe, and the way she approaches getting the work done. We are so proud to work alongside her and the campus nurses, LVNs and CNAs that make her team. They have all been to battle this year, and have done so with grit and grace. We appreciate Nurse Rhodes and her team for the work they do,” Syverson said in the email.