Nurse Kobeck: The backbone of Fairfax Elementary’s healthcare system

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, July 26, 2023

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With summer nearly over, Kali Kobeck and her family will be packing up their beach towels and sunscreen to get ready for the migration back to school. 

Kobeck has served as Fairfax Elementary’s school nurse for the last three years. In that time, she has proven herself to be a hard worker and a team player. 

“With almost 700 kids, I’m busy from the moment I walk in the door,” Kobeck said. 

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Luckily, busy is how Kobeck likes to be. Before going to nursing school, Kobeck realized she wasn’t fulfilled with working a desk job.

“I need to work with my hands. I need to be able to move and not be stuck behind a desk all the time,” she said. 

Oftentimes, Kobeck said people assume a school nurse is just there to provide Band-Aids and hugs of encouragement. While that is a part of her job, she said she also cares for students daily that require intensive or consistent care.

“It’s kind of a big responsibility and you’re here working autonomously. In a hospital setting, the doctor is there, the nurse practitioners are there,” she said. 

However, according to Kobeck, a perk of working in the Chambers County School System is that the school nurses have cultivated a supportive and communicative community.

“It is kind of nice that we have a close-knit of school nurses that we can call each other to say, ‘Hey, what do you think about this?’” Kobeck said. 

Still, Kobeck finds time to make personal connections with each of the students. During downtime in the nurse’s clinic, she helps out at the reception desk. She has become familiar with so many students that she often doesn’t have to check the computer for students’ names.  

“Just getting to know all the families and kids on a personal level,” she said. 

This year, Kobeck has partnered with Fairfax school counselor Kristin Langford on a new project. In 2022, the Chambers County School District instituted a dress code policy requiring students to wear certain colors and styles. 

“I want each kid to know that they’re loved and can come to me about anything,” Kobeck said.

She and Langford have started Fairfax Elementary’s dress code closet. With donations from the community, students who are in need can have access to dress code-appropriate clothing.

Kobeck graduated from nursing school in 2012. She and her husband moved to north Alabama where she worked at Athens Lapstone Hospital. Eventually, the Valley called them back home, and she began working at East Alabama Surgery Center.

“If you had told me in nursing school I would be working with kids, I would’ve told you no,” she said. 

However, she realized that beyond helping people, she enjoyed working with kids. It also helped that Fairfax Elementary has a familial pull on her. Kobeck has fond memories of visiting her grandparents on Lake Harding. 

Coming home meant she could give those same memories to her children when they visit with their cousins on the lake.

“It just felt like coming home,” Kobeck said. 

Kobeck’s mother and aunt both attended Fairfax. When she and her cousins went to school, they were taught by her aunt and mother for the first and third grades. Now, as a school nurse, her own two children are studying at the school.

“I just wanted to be closer to them,” Kobeck said. 

In fact, her family is in the heart of the community. Living down the street from the school, Kobeck said students often come by to visit with her children.