Welcome to our series, #WHYoming.
We are highlighting people from around our communities and asking them a few questions. We want to learn a little about them and see why they chose this great state to raise their families, start their businesses, or simply to ask — Why Wyoming?
For this week’s #WHYoming, I had a chance to talk with Michelle Cordova, a school nurse for Sweetwater County School District No. 2. Michelle has been a nurse at Green River High School for 16 years of her 35-year nursing career. She is also a nurse at Expedition Academy High School.
Throughout the pandemic, Michelle has been working tirelessly to ensure the high school students in Green River stay safe while receiving their education. Michelle does a lot of work with contact tracing within the schools, as well as educating students about COVID-19 Coronavirus, and does illness assessments every single day in her capacity as a school nurse. Michelle became a nurse to help people, and the Green River community is lucky to have her.
Michelle, can you give a brief summary of your nursing career?
I’ve been a nurse since 1985. I started my career in pediatrics at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City. I have also worked in long term care for pediatrics and geriatrics. I’ve worked in emergency care and other areas of nursing. I’ve been in school nursing for the past 16 years.
At this time, I am the president of the Wyoming School Nurses Association. I also teach nursing assistant courses at WesternWyoming Community College and do contact tracing for Sweetwater County Public Health.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I just always wanted to help people. I took a nursing assistant course in high school and knew that I wanted to continue on in nursing.
What does an average day look like for you as a school nurse in the time of COVID-19?
COVID-19 has made illness assessment much more difficult as the symptoms mimic those of so many other conditions and illnesses. I have sent many more students home and referred them to their health care practitioner and to be tested for the virus. There is no way to know without testing, if they have the coronavirus or not. I would rather err on the side of caution and prevent the spread at school by referring them to their health care practitioner.
How do you assist Sweetwater County Public Health with contact tracing?
The school nurses and school administrators from both Sweetwater County school districts have been meeting with the director of public health, the county health officer and physicians from Memorial Hospital on a weekly basis since this summer.
At the school level I help public health to trace exposures and close contacts that might have occurred during the school day or during activities. In the evenings and on weekends I do other contact tracing for public health.
How did you end up in Green River?
I found the perfect husband who was born and raised here, so I moved here in 1992.
What do you appreciate most about our community?
I really appreciate that we have many parks that are well cared for. I think the people care about our community and are friendly.
What are some of your hobbies?
I like yoga, gardening, watching birds and bike riding.
What’s something unique about you?
I am usually a pretty positive person and enjoy working with others.
If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?
Where are some of your favorite places to hang out in Sweetwater County?
Scott’s Bottom and the Green Belt.
Would you rather walk, take a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car?
Ride a bike.
What would you sing at karaoke night?
1958 Tequila Song. Because I know all of the words.
What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
Raising three amazing children! They are all caring and responsible citizens. I am so proud of the adults they have become.
Why do you choose to continue living in Wyoming?
I love the wide open spaces. I love that our communities are filled with mostly responsible and caring people. I love that Wyoming is small enough that anyone can make a difference.