When veteran School Nurse Ricki Waltz left Lincoln Academy for a new job at Bath Middle School, Head of School David Sturdevant had big shoes to fill. Waltz was a beloved part of the LA community who graduated from LA in 1982, a former LA parent, and school nurse for 14 years. Luckily for Mr. Sturdevant and the LA Community, Eric Duffy, an Emergency Department nurse and husband of Social Studies teacher Kelley Duffy already knew something about the job.
“I met with Ricki several times last spring in anticipation of subbing for her this year,” said Duffy, “so I had some idea of what the job might entail. When I decided to apply for the position, I had Ricki’s blessing and that means a huge amount to me.” Changing jobs was not an easy decision for Duffy, who has been working in the Emergency Department at Miles Memorial Hospital for the past three years after completing nursing school in 2012. In addition to being a Registered Nurse, he is a certified Wilderness and Maine EMT, and a Registered Maine Guide. He also holds a BA in English from Stonehill College, and an MA in Theology from Acadia University.
Duffy’s varied career has prepared him for the job in the Lincoln Academy Health Center in ways he never anticipated. He was working as the health care coordinator at Chewonki when the chance to join the LincolnHealth/CMCC nursing program arose. Before that, Duffy had worked “at some intersection of education, wilderness trip leading, and emergency medical care.” Duffy has been a lead instructor for Wilderness Medical Associates International since 2000 (wildmed.com), and regularly teaches intensive courses in emergency medicine that has been adapted for remote settings. He came to this through teaching English and outdoor education at Hebron Academy, and then going on to supervise the paddling programs at L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Schools. He also worked seasonally for several years as an EMT in the winter and a sea kayaking guide in the summer.
“There are many things I will miss about emergency medicine and the ER’s dynamic setting. But getting to know the students during their time here and helping them navigate what can be pretty choppy seas, that’s a privilege. I’m really looking forward to it. It feels familiar, but I have a lot more clinical judgement in my quiver than before.” Duffy started in August as Lincoln Academy’s Health Center Coordinator, and has jumped in with both feet. “We have been reviewing student health files, sorting out medications, allergies, and other health concerns. Now that the students are here on campus, it is nice to put faces with names.”
Duffy looks forward to working with students and their families, and encourages members of the LA community to reach out if they have any health questions, or want to say hello or just chat about boats. “My door is open, and I want to be a useful member of this community. I’m raising my kids here too. It’s a lot easier for me to be make clinical decisions about your child than my own, but I’ll use my best judgement if yours ever come to the health center.”