Dakota’s New Health Professional


Photo Credits: Nicole Graham

Amy Doolittle takes care of business, such as scheduling student conferences and answering questions from concerned parents, in her office.

Nicole Graham, Staff Writer

“She’s a very easy-going and knowledgeable person.” This is how Lorraine White, health aide, describes Amy Doolittle, Dakota’s official area nurse. She has acted as area nurse, or district registered nurse for ten years, going from school to school within Jefferson County giving health advice and practice. Between handling 504s, assisting with classes and seminars, helping concussed students, all while visiting and assisting Lorraine White in the nurse’s office, Doolittle has a lot on her plate.

In 2018, Doolittle switched to specifically working at Dakota, heading the health department. The new position allows for more one-on-one consultation with students. For her, working full time at a high school is a change of pace. “When I worked preschool, elementary, and middle school, the kids are pretty well supervised, there’s just more eyes on them. As you go into secondary school, the kids have to be more self managing. With high school, they’re given a lot more self management to prepare them for their adult life. We encourage them to come to us.” Doolittle says. 

An emphasized role that Ms. Doolittle has is to hold one-on-one consultations with students who are already addicted to a drug or drugs. According to a 2018 survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 32.3% of all 10th graders reporting, and 37.3% of all 12th graders reporting are vaping in some capacity. A student might be sent to Doolittle by an administrator or they come to her for help. After that, she and the student meet every few weeks to talk about why they began doing drugs and how to stop using drugs. Doolittle gives the students a myriad of resources provided by Jeffco and brings counselors in if they need mental healthcare as well. Other than one-on-one consultation, she also works with Deputy Dave to give drug awareness presentations in Seminar.

If a student has some sort of health deviation that needs to be considered, such as diabetes or a bleeding disorder, they come to Doolittle. She evaluates physical and mental needs to find if they would be better suited for the Special Education program. Anita Weber-Talbot, a special education teacher who works with Doolittle at least a few times a month, says that Doolittle helps her put together individual education plans for anybody in Special Education, and provides analysis of who does or who doesn’t need to be in the program. “Every three years, they get tested [by Doolittle] if [a student in Special Education] still needs an education plan,” Weber-Talbot says. If a student doesn’t need to go into Special Education, but still has unique needs, Doolittle puts together a health plan, a guideline for the student’s teachers to follow to better support the individual. 

To be any kind of nurse, a candidate needs extensive education under her belt. Doolittle received her bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health in Omaha, NE. She was then able to become a licensed practical nurse. Later, she received her master’s degree in education from Cambridge College in Boston, MA.

Although she has a lot of responsibility, Amy Doolittle likes her job, overall, and appreciates what she does. She appreciates the more self-guided approach to healthcare that a high school setting provides. Not to mention, she gets to put her education in education to good use. With just how important drug prevention and education is, Doolittle has a necessary job at Dakota. She reflects, saying, “I like public health. It’s good because I do a lot more education than if I was in a hospital. It’s a lot more prevention.”