A few questions never get old...and sometimes I hear them often. A sense of humor while reading this? Highly recommended.
(Let’s frame this a little. I’m talking questions from 11-14 year olds and adults over 21yo)
What Is This?
Sometimes I don’t even make it from the health office to homeroom before a flying arm or leg ends up within inches of my eyes for inspection. This is middle school, so yeah we are all still trying to figure out space sometimes! “Hmmm…”, one of my favorite responses to the hallway mystery. But seriously, this is one of my favorite questions, I love the required detective like skills need for some health issues and finding answers is NEVER EVER boring. Sometimes I know the answer to the mystery and sometimes I don’t. Recognizing most common illnesses/diseases/infections and when to say “This needs further attention”..that's what school nurses do so well. Often I am referring teens or adults to a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner or simply reassuring students/staff that it’s ok and this too shall pass. Other times I see people daily to help care for a minor ailment that could be major if they didn’t have access to a Registered Nurse during the school day. And sometimes I am sending someone to the hospital for emergent care.
What Is This? This is my favorite question.
Am I Ok?
So mostly this is a question I hear from 11-14 year olds, but honestly don’t we all wonder this sometimes? Developmentally and physically, teens sometimes(?!) change at rapid rates. Its hard to know from one month to the next what is normal when your shoe size changes from an eight to a ten in four months. Or when you grow six inches in two months. Or getting ten hours of sleep but feeling like you could sleep for another five. Or just needing space. Am I Ok? This question gets a lot of air time in many school health offices all over the word.
Do You Hand Out BandAids All Day?
First of all if you ask a school nurse this, you might want to duck! Just kidding you won’t get hurt but you might see steam pouring out from the top of their head. Sometimes I don’t even want to use the term “School Nurse” due to the association of being a bandaid dispenser. Often I introduce myself to students/staff and community members as “Abby, the Registered Nurse who runs the Richmond Middle School Health Office”.
School nurses are often independent in their roles (I am the only health care professional in a building of about 500 people). School Nurses manage office budgets, screen and monitor for illness, educate, assess emergent situations, anticipate potential safety issues and enable teachers to do what they do best. Teach. So yeah, I do hand out bandaids. Just not all day :0)