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'I'm so lucky:' Beloved school nurse of nearly three decades honored by students

On Deb Murphy's last day as a school nurse with the Northshore School District, the line of children and teachers waiting to say goodbye was long.

BOTHELL, Wash. — When Deb Murphy became a school nurse in the Northshore School District 28 years ago, she was prepared for the daily adventure in an elementary school.

But nothing could prepare her and other educators for what the pandemic would bring. 

Like most occupations, the role of school nurses has transformed. Now, the daily routine involves COVID calls home and the frequent nasal swab.

"COVID was a gamechanger," Murphy said.

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Like most of the situations that come her way, Murphy takes it with a smile. And after decades of healing young bodies for learning, Murphy is now taking time for herself. 

"To be a public health nurse and help guide our families through this pandemic has been an honor," Murphy said. "And it's the perfect way to end my career."

You heard it. 

Much to the dismay of students and teachers past and present, their beloved school nurse has decided to retire.

When word spread, the notes came pouring in, begging her not to go.

"They are so sweet," Murphy said, sorting through a box of handwritten letters. "I tell them, it's OK that I go. I'm going to be okay."

After 28 years, her reputation of being a kind, gentle soul spread throughout the district. And on her last day, the line of children and teachers waiting to say goodbye was long.

"I'm so lucky," Murphy said. "I have so many great memories to draw on."

And now, so do we.

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