After working for 10 years in big city emergency departments and ICUs, Christine Burke traded night shifts for being a school nurse, so her schedule worked better for her kids in elementary school. It was more challenging than she expected and there are things she and her fellow school nurses wish parents understood more fully. Here’s what they want moms and dads to know to make taking care of their kids during the school day easier.
- Medical forms are crucial. Fill them out - In an emergency, every second counts, so having a parent’s updated cell phone and work numbers is crucial. It’s a pain to fill out those forms every year for each child, but when your kid needs an ambulance, you’ll be glad the school had your correct contact information.
- Lice is not a big deal. Yes, really - Parents tend to freak out if anyone even mentions lice, so if their kids get it, they really lose it. But if your kid is found to have lice nits, take a deep breath, it’s not that bad. Nits can’t jump from head to head and can’t survive without a human. Plus, lice affect all socioeconomic classes and it happens to all kinds of kids, so relax, you can handle it.
- If they call to say your kid is too sick for school, they mean it - No parent wants to see a call from the school clinic on their phone because it may mean their whole day is going to be derailed, but school nurses only call when they need to. Their job is to keep the entire school healthy, so if your kid has a fever or is throwing up, don’t give the nurse a hard time for asking you to do your part and take your kid home to get well.
- Elementary schools take donations of gently used clothing and underwear - In elementary school, accidents are going to happen. From not being able to get to the bathroom on time, to splitting their pants at P.E., young kids may need a change of clothes at times and school clinics like to keep fresh undies or pants on hand, just in case.
- A “thank you” goes a long way - School nurses tend to be forgotten, unless there’s an emergency. But that person is working hard every day, taking care of your kid and everyone else’s, so pop in and offer your thanks sometime. And don’t forget School Nurses Day, which is May 8th, 2019.