Anthony takes over as new CCSD lead nurse

Published 9:30 am Thursday, June 22, 2023

Carla Anthony is now Chambers County School District’s lead nurse after Loretta Cofield retired this year. 

“Loretta believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, and that was kind of a game changer,” Anthony said. “And then the just outpouring of support of all of the nurses at Chambers County, they were so supportive of me.”

Anthony, a Valley native, has worked for the Chambers County School District since 2019. For the past two years, she has been the school nurse for LaFayette High until taking the new position.

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“That was one of the hardest decisions of taking this job was like, I don’t want to leave my kids,” Anthony said. 

Anthony worked at Chattahoochee Hospice for nearly 10 years before deciding to make a change. In 2019, she was hired onto the nursing staff for CCSD. Not long afterward, Cofield became the lead nurse for the school system.

“I could tell she breathed and lived school nursing … When she came in, I was so excited because she took what we had and just structured everything for us and got us all on the same track,” Anthony said. 

As she moves into the lead nurse position, Anthony is excited to be able to take a more holistic approach. 

“​​I’ll be mobile, and I can go and learn more about the kids and be in all the schools,” she said. 

Anthony’s main focus this coming year will be the state surveys that she and the rest of the nurses will have to undertake. 

“All nurses get anxiety when they hear state survey,” Anthony said. “And Loretta has swooped in and really set the foundation for that. I’m so thankful, so I want to build on her foundation and keep this structure and keep it going.”

One of the initiatives that Anthony plans to focus on is students’ mental health. Since the pandemic, many students have struggled with socializing. 

“We don’t have a mental health degree. We are nurses,” Anthony said. “But again, we’re wearing so many hats as school nurses.” 

Anthony hopes to facilitate education on mental health for the nurses as well as the students.

“There needs to be more education, and we’re going to try to fit more education in with our students,” Anthony said.

The HPV awareness efforts that began last year will be an ongoing project as well. The rate of cervical cancer, which is caused by HPV infection, in Chambers County is the highest in the state. 

After a visiting nurse shared these rates, Cofield took the initiative to bring awareness and provide HPV vaccinations to students. The school nurses also underwent an informational HPV vaccine and cervical cancer seminar. 

“We have an amazing team of nurses,” Anthony said. “They are the backbone of the schools. They are so full of knowledge.”

Anthony became a registered nurse in 1996. She worked in various fields around the county in her early years. After raising four children, she came back to nursing and worked at Lanier Hospital and part-time with Chambers County Schools. 

“It is all about the kids,” Anthony said. “In Chambers County and the nurse’s department, it is about these babies.”