Springfield, MO

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2012 Health Care Champions Honoree: Shari Miller

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While Shari Miller has lived all over the nation due to her husband’s military career, a constant in her life has been the health care profession.

Her husband’s relocation to Missouri in 1990 brought her to the Springfield area, where she worked in nursing roles for Webco Manor in Marshfield and Springfield Care Center. Miller found a home in her last career move – to the Marshfield R-I School District, 18 years ago.

As a certified medical assistant from Pacific Coast College in San Diego, Calif., and a licensed practical nurse from Ozarks Technical Community College, Miller has served students as the school nurse at Marshfield High.

In her role, Miller works with the food services department to ensure healthy food choices and special dietary needs are met, and with the Lion’s Club and health services to provide immunizations, health fair screenings and eye care to students. Along with other district nurses, she also organizes a store where students can get needed items at no cost.

“If there are any situations where there is a fire or (someone) is homeless, there are ways of getting them hygienic products as well as clothing,” says Miller, who considers herself a confidant, counselor, friend and liaison for students.

She works to combat peer pressure by sponsoring an organization called Students Opposing Destructive Actions.

“We needed something in the high school to help draw (students) away from drugs and alcohol,” Miller says.

“We try to promote positive reinforcement, things that are not destructive to the body. It’s really hard for some of them, because they’re against their own peers and sometimes they really have to dig deep and come up with something that will make a difference.”

During weekly meetings, which draw up to 40 students, sponsors promote abstinence, drug- and alcohol-free lifestyles, seatbelt safety, good nutrition, smoke-free environments, bicycle safety and relationships between senior citizens and teens through the annual Senior Citizen Dance Social.

The SODA club visits first-, fourth- and sixth-grade classes where members teach younger students about issues appropriate for each grade.

The information is reinforced through a series of hands-on activities that allow members and students to engage in further understanding.

“They learn the dangers of what (destructive action) does to the body and how it effects people around them,” Miller says.

Click here for full coverage of the 2012 Salute to Health Care.

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