Inspire Dayton: Northmont school nurse takes charge during the pandemic

Vickie Moody
Vickie Moody

When the pandemic struck schools and communities, a Northmont High School nurse took the lead to manage communication efforts between district nurses and the public health department, all with a smile.

Vickie Moody, 58, has been a school nurse for the district for seven years and has been a nurse since 1987, getting her start at the former Good Samaritan Hospital in the intensive care unit for more than eight years. She’s been a school nurse for the past 18 years.

“I have always wanted to be a nurse. That has been since I could always remember because I love helping people. I love being able to reach out to others and touch their lives in a positive way,” she said.

During this challenging year, Daytonians have persevered and helped one another out. Throughout the month of December, the Dayton Daily News will tell the stories of individuals who have inspired others, a series called Inspire Dayton.

After she started her family, she wanted to spend more time at home. She would later substitute at schools, which led her into school nursing.

Moody was asked by administrators to be a liaison between the school nursing staff and the public health department.

“Through this entire process the district has needed this one person who could manage all of it. Basically, the information from the state, information from the county, putting it all together figuring out what our guidelines are and making sure everybody knows what those guidelines are, what the expectations are. It’s been a herculean effort on her part to coordinate it all, keep track of it all and keep everybody on point through all of this,” said Jenny Wood, the district’s information officer.

She’s responsible for performing contact tracing, monitoring cases and students and staff who have to quarantine, as well as helping other district nurses.

“I just wanted to be part of that team that would bring our kids back into the educational system, that could hopefully reassure parents that we would do everything we could to keep them safe and make sure information was spread and we were increasing people’s knowledge,” Moody said. “I’ve always had that edge that I just wanted to educate,” Moody said.

She grew up in Huber Heights and later moved to Tipp City, where she lives with her husband and 25-year-old son. She enjoys reading, quilting and sewing, and visiting her mother in Tennessee whom she used to visit four to six times a year. Moody said not seeing her is the hardest thing about the pandemic for her personally.

“This pandemic has been kind of challenging to get with her and I know we’re going to miss her. We missed her at Thanksgiving and it’s going to be hard not being around her at Christmas as well,” she said.

Moody said she would’ve never dreamed that the pandemic would’ve gotten this bad, but she tries to remain positive and has a good support system.

“I’m surrounded by very supportive people. My staff here at Northmont, they’re phenomenal. I make sure if I’m feeling overwhelmed, I reach out to other people,” she said.

Northmont staff gives her the pat on the back she deserves as she continues to work through the pandemic.

“I don’t think the general public realizes how much coordination goes into looking at roughly 5,000 students and almost 1,000 staff members and making sure this person starts a quarantine on this day and they’re allowed to come back on that day. There is so much involved when you have a positive case that has to happen, and she has really coordinated those efforts for the entire district and guided our nurses and just really stepped up,” Wood said.

For those looking for ways to cope during the pandemic, Moody advises to take it one day at a time, look for the positives and be kind.

“Always go in with a smile on your face and an open heart,” she said. “It’s a really hard time and unless you can put on somebody else’s shoes, you really don’t know what they’re going through, so offer some positivity.”

As she has been an inspiration to others, Dusty Huff, nurse practitioner for the public health department, has inspired her. Although the two have never met face to face, Moody said she knows she can always call Huff and she’ll be there for her.

In the coming new year Moody is looking forward to “normalcy” for everyone, especially students, as well as an effective vaccine.

“I look forward to us being back into school, in a normal school setting, hopefully by the ’21-’22 school year. I would like to just be able to be back to some sort of normal,” she said. But ultimately she’s “going to make the time” to see her loved ones more often.

Inspire Dayton

Throughout the month of December, the Dayton Daily News will tell the stories of people who have persevered and inspired others during this challenging year. Read all the stories at DaytonDailyNews.com/inspire-dayton. Tell us who inspired you in 2020 by emailing jordan.laird@coxinc.com.

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