At the door of my clinic
I am a school nurse. My mom is a retired school nurse. My sister is a nurse. My brother-in-law is a nurse. Being a nurse comes naturally to me. Over the last 13 years I have been a nurse in a variety of settings (hospital floor, ER, doctor’s office, urgent care clinic, and now the school system), but I have always worked with children. Pediatrics is my specialty.
Our students return to school tomorrow for another exciting year. School nursing has evolved over the decades. Because of the changes in the laws over the years, more and more children with chronic medical conditions are in the school system (this is called mainstreaming or inclusion). Thankfully, every child now has the right to an education, regardless of how severely limiting their disability may be. However, this poses a challenge to the school community. One that the teachers, administrators, and nurses face head on each year.
Examples of conditions we manage in the school setting are:
- Asthma (I had 65 students last year who kept inhalers in the clinic, and many more who have them at home)
- ADHD (I administer several of these medications during the school day, and many more take them at home)
- Type I Diabetes (These students are insulin-dependent and may need daily shots or have insulin pumps)
- Seizure disorders (Including Cerebral Palsy and epilepsy)
- Psychiatric disorders (Even young children are diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and others)
- Bleeding disorders (Various types of hemophilia – these students are prone to easy bleeding even with minor injuries on the playground)
I see about 80 kids a day. Yes, 80. In a 7-hour period. Their ages range from 3-11 years. Kids come to the clinic for the above reasons, and also the basic bumps/bruises and tummy aches that come along with the school day. I have tended to many broken bones, head injuries, some seizures, and even a car accident in our school parking lot. I also perform screenings of hundreds of students throughout the year for Vision/Hearing, Scoliosis and more.
This past week I got my clinic set up – all rooms are cleaned and dismantled over the summer.
Some of my meager supplies provided by the school district
Tongue depressors, Ace wraps, bandage tape, wrist splints, slings
Bandage tape, rolled gauze
Cut-to-fit finger splints – can you say Jammed Fingers?
Sewing kit (I have used this for clothing, shoes, and glasses believe it or not) and a Glasses Repair Kit – Yes the nurse can do that.
Canisters for gauze, bandaids, and eye pads
Most of our teachers are seasoned – experienced in dealing with the various accidents and illnesses of their students. But I like to give out a little tip sheet for the new teachers, and as a reminder/refresher for the rest:
May I Go To The Nurse?
Bandaids and Clinic Passes
Kits to Begin the Year!
I want my clinic to be a comfortable place but not too FUN – some students seem to gravitate to the clinic to get out of class, or just as a diversion.
One of Two Plastic, Wipeable Cots
Cute Animal Posters to Cover the Blank Boring Wall
View From My Desk – The Second Cot, My Sink, and the Front Office
Crayons for the little ones (and sometimes the big ones) who need to be occupied while waiting for their parents to come
My desk – I’m usually not sitting at it.
These signs have some of my most favorite School Nurse sayings:
- School Nurses Care for Kids
- Every Child Deserves a School Nurse
- Healthy Children Learn Better – School Nurses Make it Happen
And that I do! I am ready to receive all who walk through my door this year.