Job well done: Philadelphia native, school nurse retires after 40 years of service

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Due to COVID-19, this retiring nurse maybe not get a normal farewell from her students and colleagues. But many in the neighborhood say, she will never be forgotten.

Querethea "Que" Travis otherwise known as "Nurse Que" has been working as a nurse in the School District of Philadelphia since 1996.

Tuesday, she says good-bye to what she calls an experience of a lifetime, that has truly come full-circle for her.

"I'm going to miss seeing them come to my office," said Travis. "They have so many little pearls of wisdom they just don't know."

A native of Philadelphia, Travis started her career at the Walter Smith Elementary School. Due to budget cuts, she often split her time between three different schools.

Thanks to fundraising efforts by local parent groups, Travis was able to spend her final years at William Meredith Elementary in the city's Queen Village neighborhood.

Her decision to retire comes as her husband recovers from leukemia. She desired to make sure they have time to spend together.

As a junior at West Philadelphia Catholic High School in the 1970s, Travis narrowed her career choices to nursing or teaching.

Interested by both fields, Travis says she walked into her "niche." Walking away with over 40 years of experience, 24 years being with The School District of Philadelphia.

"I'm going to miss the contact with them and contact with the families," said Travis. "Particularly if there's a concern for their child and however I can help be involved with. I always loved doing that."

Travis would detect hearing or sight issues that could hamstring a student from realizing his or her potential. Staff members say she would also knock on doors in the neighborhoods where she worked, to make sure families knew her and knew she was serious about getting their kids the best medical care.

Travis even spent her money on supplies, equipment, and snacks for students some members say.

Travis is no stranger to the Philadelphia Eagles; she was the inaugural recipient of the Diane Davis Vision Award for her work with Eagles Youth Partnership's Eye Mobile Program.

William M. Meredith School Principal Lauren Overton says she was much more than a school nurse.

"When you're a school principal, you hope for an incredible staff," said Overton. "Oftentimes people force on the teachers. She's also been a school counselor for some students and a counselor for some of our staff members."

Overton says Travis is a part of the school forever. When asked what advice she has for current and future students, Travis said, "To be kind."

"I always treat the children as I want my children to be treated," said Travis. "I want them to know that someone cares about them."

Known for her compassion, endless patience, and commitment to high-quality care, nurse Travis has made a mark on the city's children that will never be erased.
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