Opening Our Arms to Ottawa’s Own

Noah Bond

Jennifer Macfarlane spends some time outside after sending out some emails from her office. Her office, located in the D-Wing, is open to students from 8 to 11, Tuesday through Thursday. Photo Credit / Noah Bond

Serving an American public school district is a welcome opportunity for Canadian-trained nurse, Jennifer Macfarlane.
Macfarlane started her nursing career in neurosurgery at The Ottawa Hospital in 2008. The Ottawa Hospital, located in the capital of Canada, has delivered more than six thousand babies throughout its time and performed almost 52 thousand surgeries according to Ottawa Hospital’s website. This is the same hospital that Jennifer Macfarlane, Loy Norrix’s new school nurse, worked at after she graduated from the University of Ottawa, the 41st best school in the world for nursing, according to Top Universities.
As the school nurse, she updates health records and teaches administrators how to react during certain situations, such as administering an EpiPen, or what to do in the event of a seizure.
Over her 10 year career she has worked in many specialties including cardiology, obstetrics gynecology, and palliative care. Macfarlane moved to the United States with her husband and children in 2014. When it comes to Kalamazoo, she has worked as a nurse in both Borgess and the Family Health Center.
“[A nurse] Supports the whole educational staff,” said Macfarlane as she elaborated on what inspired her to become a nurse. In 1996, back when she was in high school, her school had a nurse, and any time she felt overwhelmed or anxious by the rigorous perils of “Canada High,” she would find herself confiding in her comfort.
After her grandfather passed away from liver cancer, Macfarlane went into palliative care, the division in charge of end-of-life care. Now, she helps make sure students are safe each day as they attend school, and she stretches across eight different schools, all under the name of “District 8.”
To Macfarlane, Norrix is like a base-of-operations. It’s the school where her office is located and has more students and staff than the other schools and programs that she must tend to throughout her day.
Macfarlane believes that, “in a perfect world, there should be at least one [nurse] in every school,” which would allow her to spend more time with our school, or, if you will, her new home.
She loves the amount of diversity and, in her words, “friendliness,” of our school’s community, and recognizes a willingness to help one another within our walls, which is why she gravitates to this school.
From 8-11 A.M., Tuesday through Thursday, she finds herself enveloped in the family of Norrix, always with her door open to anyone who might need her.