Well before the pandemic hit, school nurses were taking care of much more than skinned knees, bloody noses and the occasional breakouts of head lice. COVID-19 certainly highlighted the importance of school nurses, but these health care professionals have always played a critical role in our students’ education.
School nurses promote wellness, they act as a liaison between students, families and healthcare providers, and they help with myriad issues that detract from a student’s performance in the classroom. Districts 75 and 120 will pay tribute to its nursing team during National School Nurse Day on Wednesday, May 11.
“Whether injury, illness or mental health, our team of nurses have worked as a single team to help individual students overcome the challenges they face,” said Kevin Myers, Superintendent for Districts 75 and 120. “That we can help our students to continue learning in the face of such adversity is a testament to all the school nurses on our staff.”
“The nursing staff has been asked to work with flexibility and creativity during the pandemic”, said Jamie DiCarlo, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services. “They’ve worked proactively to stay informed and up-to-date on the myriad changes to health procedures in the schools.”
“We appreciate our nursing staff for rising to the occasion and working hard to keep our school community healthy and safe,” DiCarlo said. “We are so proud of the diligence and compassion maintained throughout the Pandemic.”
Even though nurses felt the impact of the pandemic more than anyone, Debbie Tipperreiter, the lead Health Aide for Districts 75 and 120 said there was a silver lining of sorts.
“It brought everyone together as a team,” she said. “We now have a much tighter relationship amongst the health team, and more cohesiveness between buildings.”
School Nurse Day was established to foster a better understanding of the role of school nurses in an educational setting. More than anyone else, the nurses understand their impact on academic performance.
“It is our goal to improve each student’s health outcome and help them succeed in their education,” said Janette Swanston, a school nurse at the Mundelein High School Transition Center.
Part of their job is removing obstacles that keep students from learning. In some cases, poor eyesight led to reading problems. In other cases, students who stayed home with upset stomachs were struggling with anxiety. It takes teamwork to get the right diagnosis and resolve the issues.