Cathedral Prep welcomed Nurse May into its halls this school year in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The new full-time, head nurse was born and raised right here in Erie. While attending Mercyhurst Prep, she was unsure of what she wanted to do. May explained how she loved chemistry and working with people, but was interested in so much that it was difficult to decide on a career. It wasn’t until her mother suggested she be a nurse that she considered this possibility.
“My mom said that from the time I was little I would always take care of other people,” May said. “She said that there was a moment where I helped an elderly woman and husband at the mall and that I should be a nurse.”
This advice given by Nurse May’s mother made her consider a nursing career, but Penn State Behrend was not offering a nursing program at the time, so she did not pursue it. May didn’t decide to fully commit herself to this career path until she traveled to Texas to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
“I just remember seeing all of these displaced people and hiring them for jobs so that they could work,” said May. “The level of help I was giving made me think that the job I was doing was not as rewarding as what I should be doing. I just knew then that I needed to go back to school and do what I had to do to become a nurse.”
A job opportunity for her at Cathedral Prep appeared somewhat unexpectedly. Nurse May has been affiliated with the Erie School District, and specifically Cathedral Prep, in mentoring Nurse Breanna, for a couple of years. In sensing the surrounding conditions and effects of COVID-19, Nurse May anticipated that a larger school community like Prep-Villa-MTA would be in need of a full-time nurse and could sustain the position. She was met with this offer after preparing her own application.
“I had written an email and was thinking who I should send it to,” said May. “The next thing I know, someone had sent me an email. I was like, ‘Is somebody reading my email?’ It was so bizarre!”
Anthony Nunez, a senior at Cathedral Prep, has attended this school for four years and observed what it is like without the full-time nursing position being filled. He explains that having this duty filled by Nurse May is necessary now, more than ever, due to the extra precautions that have to be taken and symptoms students have to be aware of. Anthonty also suggested that the hiring of Nurse May could create connections for students.
“I feel like Nurse May could fix the disconnect between the nurse and students, mainly caused by us not having one while I’ve been going here. It can be just another connection for students and a possible outlet,” said Anthony.
In looking towards the future, Nurse May is most excited about making connections with and impacting the students of not only Cathedral Prep, but also those of Mother Theresa Academy and Villa Maria Academy.
“A lot of my students from the Erie School District will see me and go, ‘Hey Nurse May!’ There’s always those connections. You really become a part of a family. I think that’s really the key when it comes to working as a nurse, and I’m excited to make them here,” said Nurse May.