Clovis News

Three Fresno Co. people receive highest state nurse awards

Three people from Fresno County have been chosen to receive the highest awards given by the California Nurses Association for service to children.

It's the first time Fresno County nominees swept the three top statewide honors, said Mary Tolle, a retired Sierra Unified School District nurse and charter member of the nurses association.

The association named Patricia Gomes of Central Unified School District as school administrator of the year, and Diane Durando of Clovis Unified School District as nurse of the year. David Luchini, community health division manager at the Fresno County Department of Public Health, was named the Lyda Smiley Award winner. The award recognizes someone other than a school nurse.

The three winners will be honored at the association's conference awards luncheon Saturday at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Fresno.

Gomes, a registered nurse with a master's degree in education, has worked at Central Unified for 17 years, helping to build health-services programs and coordinating the health-services team.

In 2007, Gomes was chosen School Nurse of the Year for the Central Valley section of the nurses association. She is a part-time instructor in the School Nurse Services Credential Program at California State University, Fresno.

Durando, a registered nurse, has been a school nurse for 25 years. During the Gulf War in 1990, she served children of military personnel in Germany, developing plans to help students whose parents had been killed or injured or were missing in action.

She is a group leader for the student-assistance program at Clovis Unified and runs a support group for Buchanan High School. She's an on-the-job trainer for CSUF nursing students.

The association recognized Luchini, at the county health department since 1993, for contributions to the health of children.

Luchini has been responsible for helping school nurses establish immunization clinics for students to get hepatitis B shots and the newly required booster shot for whooping cough for middle school and high school students.