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HFM school nurse named among top ten in greater Capital Region

Kim Bursese, who has served as an HFM BOCES school nurse for nearly 20 years in addition to a more than 30-year career in the military, has been selected as a top 10

studio portrait of Kim Bursese

Kim Bursese (photo provided by the HFM Digital Multimedia and Communications program.

winner in the Times Union’s annual Salute to Nurses program.

Now in its eighth year, the Salute to Nurses initiative recognizes 10 area nurses for their exceptional service. In addition to the top 10, 15 nurses are also recognized as finalists. This year, Bursese was selected for the top honor from more than 700 nurses nominated.

Bursese was honored Friday, May 7 during a virtual event hosted by the Times Union. There will be a special Salute to Nurses section in the Sunday, May 9 edition of the paper.

A Registered Nurse, Bursese has served as the school nurse for the HFM BOCES main campus since 2002. She retired in June 2020, but was asked to return in September as HFM needed more staff to implement COVID-19 safety procedures when programs reopened for students this fall.

“Kim has always been an asset to our staff and students, she continuously goes above and beyond,” HFM Career and Technical Center Principal Michael DiMezza said. “When I asked for her to come back after she retired to assist us in implementing our daily COVID procedures and protocols, she instantly said yes. I have been truly lucky to have worked with her. She is an incredible nurse and person.”

“We are so grateful to Kim for answering our call for assistance during this pandemic,” HFM BOCES District Superintendent David Ziskin said. “This honor is well deserved.”

Bursese’s nursing career began in the U.S. Air Force as an aeromedical evacuation technician before she was promoted to flight nurse. She retired from the Air National Guard as a lieutenant colonel after a 31-and-a-half-year military career that saw serve in four war zones including operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

As a school nurse, Bursese cares for students and adults at the HFM main campus providing emergency and routine medical services and case management. She’s also routinely worked closely with school counselors and other staff to ensure the physical and mental well being of students. During the pandemic, she helped make sure COVID-19 safety protocols were followed and assisted Beth Smith, the nurse hired to replace her following her retirement.

Nurse Kim Bursese uses a digital point and shoot thermometer to check a student's temperature

Temperature checks are part of the daily COVID-19 safety procedures implemented when programs reopened for students this fall. (Photo provided by the HFM Digital Multimedia and Communications program)

“She’s the best mentor I’ve ever had,” Smith said.

“Kim is most deserving of the Salute to Nurses exceptional service recognition. Kim’s primary concern has always been for the health and welfare of our school community. We have been blessed to have Kim as part of our HFM BOCES family, and I am truly honored to have worked with Kim over the years,” HFM BOCES Assistant Superintendent for Student Programs Jay A. DeTraglia said.

During her 19 years at BOCES, Bursese was also a nurse at the Fulton County Jail for 11 years and also has experience at St. Mary’s Hospital, Arkell Hall, Lexington, Palatine Nursing Home and the former Amsterdam Memorial Hospital. Early in her civilian career, she also worked as a nurse and truancy officer for the Canajoharie school district.

While her nursing experience is diverse, Bursese said her career has always centered on one thing.

“It’s all about patient care,” she said. Bursese said would recommend nursing to young people considering it and advises them to get experience in a variety of medical settings.

“The nursing profession is a rewarding field,” she said. “There are so many opportunities available in nursing. I highly recommend it.”

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