AHEC - North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program
Touched by an AHEC: Stories from 100 Counties
Terri Watson, RN, BSN, NCSN

Terri Watson, RN, BSN, NCSN
lead school nurse, Gates County Schools


Gates County | Eastern AHEC

Terri Watson, RN, BSN, NCSN, lead school nurse, Gates County Schools

“As a child, I debated between ‘teacher,’ ‘nurse,’ ‘teacher, ‘nurse,’” said Terri Watson, lead school nurse at Gates County Schools. “I had a hard time deciding. Then I decided I would really like to be a school nurse because it is both. I love working with children and teaching them about healthy behaviors.  

“Another benefit of being a school nurse is that it allows me to spend more time with my family.  I do not have to work in the summer and I do not have to work at night or on the weekends.  It is difficult for many nurses to find a job that allows them to spend time with their family. Family is very important to me. It is also important that I enjoy my job, and I do.”  

Watson came to Gates County Schools in 2002, after a friend informed her of the position. “I was working in another school system until I had the opportunity to work where I live,” she said. “Gates County Schools has a great team of teachers and staff, and I am proud to be part of it.”

Watson has benefited from a number of AHEC workshops, leadership programs and continuing education courses. She attended Eastern AHEC’s School Nurse Leadership Institute, which is sponsored and coordinated by Eastern AHEC, during the 2007-2008 school year. "It was a well-organized program, with great speakers who provided a lot of useful information. The meeting space was nice and I enjoyed the networking among other school nurses. I also enjoyed the project we were assigned and I have found it to be truly beneficial in my job. Thank you to everyone who helped make the leadership institute a success!

“I have also attended several other AHEC workshops, such as School Nurse Documentation, Eastern Region School Nurse Meetings, Prevent Blindness Vision Training, School Mental Health Training, and a workshop on drug prevention, to name a few. I enjoy going to AHEC workshops, and Greenville is a great place to visit.

“I believe the AHEC leadership program taught me a lot about being a lead nurse.  I learned things with AHEC that I could not have learned on my own. I feel more confident and knowledgeable after attending the leadership program. Gates County is very rural, with very few resources for referrals. AHEC has increased my ability to become a better school nurse in an underserved area. 

“In addition, Eastern AHEC has helped me to obtain contact hours that are needed to keep my school nurse certification. It is the closest area to my schools for obtaining continuing education. Sometimes when I am discouraged, I am able to meet and talk with other school nurses at Eastern AHEC to find that they are in the same situation. We can work together to find solutions. Without Eastern AHEC, we would not have that contact with other school nurses to discuss things with. Therefore, Eastern AHEC has influenced my career because without them, I may have given up on school nursing a long time ago. Sometimes my job is difficult, but I know I have other school nurses who can help me if needed. Again, AHEC has helped me find resources that we do not have in rural Gates County. Above all, I love my job so it is my plan to continue working as a school nurse in the future.”