9 Reasons the School Nurse Rocks

Big Kid 25

Being a school nurse is no small task, but it's an under-appreciated job in many ways. It's no longer a job that is about Band-Aids and lollipops and calling the parents of feverish children. Now it has become more and more complicated with less and less support.

Imagine being the nurse to more than 1,100 kids every single day because that is what she -- 99 percent of school nurses are women -- is likely to do.

With new medical care and inclusive schools, there are more disabled children with strong needs like respirators, feeding tubes, or catheters. In addition, diabetes, asthma, and severe allergies are far more common. So here are nine reasons to thank your school nurse today:

  1. She's juggling: There are student expectations, parental expectations, administrative expectations, and state board expectations, and she deals with all of them on a daily basis.
  2. She's a good communicator: Can you imagine trying to get kindergartners to tell you what is wrong with them? Now multiply that by 45 and maybe you have an idea of her day. It's not easy and it takes special skill.
  3. She deals with contagion: Guess who is the first person to see your child with pink eye or a high fever? Guess who puts herself (and her family) at risk by working in the germiest place in the world? It's not easy to be exposed to everything under the sun every single day.
  4. Her job is scary: If a child has an asthma attack or a peanut allergy and there are only seconds to spare, who makes it to them first? She is responsible for the lives of children, which is scary enough as a mom times two. What if I had 1,100 kids?
  5. Lice: 'Nuff said.
  6. She solves puzzles: When a child comes into her office, he or she can't always state clearly what the problem is, so it's up to the nurse to figure it out. It isn't a small task. Just ask a 6-year-old how their day was and you will understand.
  7. She is needed: In schools where there is no school nurse, tragedy can strike. According to Parenting, only 45 percent of public schools have a full-time dedicated nurse. A full 25 percent have no nurse at all. It may seem like something that can be cut, but when push comes to shove, she could be the one saving your child's life.
  8. They stop epidemics: It was a school nurse that called the New York City Department of Health after becoming alarmed by the number of sick students she was seeing, which alerted authorities that H1N1 had arrived.
  9. They keep your kids well: Nurses who are in districts with funding provide vision and hearing screening exams. They teach children good hygiene and they offer obesity prevention by discussing nutrition and keeping an eye on kids for signs of weight problems.

Do you thank your school nurse?


Image via lucyfrench123/Flickr

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Melis... Melissa042807

I worked in a school that had only a part-time nurse, so during the rest of the week I was kind of the acting nurse and it is definitely a thankless job. The biggest pain in the a$$ for me was the parents who would send their kids to school sick and then yell at ME when I called them to come pick up their puking, feverish child. "Well are you SURE? They're so good at faking it!" Well, the 101 degrees on the thermometer and the puddle of barf in the bathroom that our janitor just had to drop everything to clean up is pretty convincing to me. *facepalm*

momto... momtolittleg

The school where I wrok has a part-time nurse- she splits her duties between 3 schools every week!  All she has time to do is the massive amount of paperwork they require of he.  Our receptionist does most of the "real time" nursing action, and she doesn't get nearly enough appreciation.  Both of them get sickness heaped on them, bless them!

Char_... Char_gal4

When I was in school, I had been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.  Only on certain days of the week was there a school nurse to tend to any student, much less one in a completely shut down state.  On those days, a secretary or my aide would be calling my family and watching me.  Medications were distributed by secretaries as well.  This isn't a good practice!

Char_... Char_gal4

Which by the way, the high school only had a nurse in 3 days of the week.  The middle school had one for four days.

Krist... KristinRox

I've never been to a school that had a school nurse. If I had, I would have thanked her/him.

Jasmine Mitose

my elementary school nurse was a joke. i broke my arm in the 5th grade & got my cast off in october. in JANUARY she calls me to the office to ask "so i saw that you had been excused from pe for a couple months...why would you do that?" she got all flustered when i answered that i had broken my humerous bone isn't that a good enough reason for her? that was the one & only time i ever saw her. 

elasmimi elasmimi

I WAS a school nurse for a short time, in a school for developmentally disabled kids. Greatest job in the world, but also the scariest. You're so right about the responsibility.

elasmimi elasmimi

Funny story about school nurses. My friend's son came home one day from 1st grade, and told her he saw the school nurse that day. She was alarmed and asked him why. He said, Oh she saw everyone, she said she had to check our headlights. (head lice)

GlowW... GlowWorm889

I always had really nice school nurses. I don't know if they were there all the time, though I lived in a fairly affluent town with large school budgets so I'm sure they could have afforded to keep them all five days....in any case, they were some of the nicest people you'd ever meet. :)

KamiB79 KamiB79

Our schools have a full-time nurse. The elementary one sucks, but the high school and middle school ones are Awesome!

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