Shirley M. Gildford, BSN, RN of Bellevue received her Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing Science from the University of Washington and has been a contributing member of WSNA for over 38 years. In 1973, Shirley was Chair of WSNA's first Minority Affairs Committee. Over the years, Shirley also served in several committees for ANA and for KCNA. During the time she served on the KCNA Board of Directors, she helped develop the Adopt a School Project, which was a pilot project at her middle school to encourage students to consider nursing as a profession. She is a retired Seattle school nurse, where for thirty-two years, she provided health services for students at all grade levels. Shirley has maintained membership in the Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization since 1958 and served a term as their President.
Shirley's enthusiasm, dedication, and concern for health care and health education has been translated into practical benefits to the students she served. She ensured health education occurred daily during each contact with a student, involving discussions on self care, practices to prevent illness, and accessing the health care system. Because she firmly believes the health and well being of children contribute to their learning ability, much of her time was spent preventing, identifying, or remediating the health and learning problems of her students.
Shirley used her knowledge of community resources creatively and effectively. In addition to referrals of students to community clinics and agencies like Child Protective Services, she provided information from community resources to parents and school staff. To heighten the awareness of staff about health concerns, she provided speakers from the community at faculty meetings. Shirley always maintained open communication with parents and assisted in getting their children plugged into health care facilities in the community. She taught Red Cross First Aid classes for staff and parents after school and during weekends.
Shirley served on the oversight committee for the AIDS Awareness play, "Live Wire", which was produced for middle school students and offered throughout the city and state. She held health fairs for students in her middle school and did screening at community health fairs.
Shirley was an active member of the Seattle School Nurses Association and served as President. As Chair of SNOW's Practice Committee for six years, she helped develop Standards of Practice for School Nurses and a Position Paper on the Role of Professional School Nurses in the Seattle School District. This committee developed a slide presentation showing the role of school nurses and the importance of a quality health services program. It was shown to community groups, the school board, and the PTSA.
Shirley served on the Board and as secretary of the Washington Health Education Alliance. This organization supported comprehensive health education curricula and worked legislatively to get bills passed that would influence local school districts. The changes in the laws regarding scoliosis screening and immunizations for school age children came about with written and verbal testimony from those individuals like Shirley.
The impact of Shirley's contribution on the lives of the children will have a lasting effect. Even now, former students share the impact her influence has had on their lives. The documents and curricula she helped develop continue to be used.