What does a day in the life of a school nurse look like? It’s more than boo-boos and bandages, though, they see their fair share of those, too.
Canyons School District’s 17 nurses help students manage complex, chronic conditions. They administer flu shots, conduct vision screenings, promote wellness, and link families with health care services and insurance. They conduct CPR and other First Aid training with staff and faculty, and this year alone, administered care to 2,000 students in school-based health rooms. Add to that the pressures and extra workload shouldered during the pandemic, and you can see why they deserve the label, “healthcare heroes.”
“School nurses have long been a critical health hub for students, but the role they have played in helping to safely reopen schools in the midst of a pandemic has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Laurie Combe, President of the National Association of School Nurses.
CSD’s nurses, led by Nursing Specialist Sally Goodger, worked countless hours to brainstorm the most effective and safest ways to keep schools open and safe — and their boots-on-the-ground labor was what made in-person instruction possible.
It was school nurses who performed contact tracing to support local health officials in sleuthing out COVID-19 exposures in an effort to break chains of transmission before they took hold. It was the nurses who communicated daily with parents about quarantines. It was the nurses who helped manage and staff COVID-19 testing for employees and students. And when vaccines became available, they were on the frontlines of getting shots in arms, too.
It took a lot of heavy-lifting, and adapting to changing health guidelines, but the goal was simple: Do what it takes to keep schools open and students safely learning. “It helped that we were able add new nursing staff this year. We have an amazing team who happily rose to the every challenge,” said Goodger.
We’re not surprised. Nurses have that uncanny ability to thrive in high-pressure environments while putting everyone else around them at ease. For her role leading her nursing team through the uncertainties of the health crisis with resolve, empathy and her special brand of southern charm, Goodger was awarded the 2020 Apex Awards for Student Support Services Professional of the Year. A fierce advocate for her fellow school nurses and the services they provide — she is the first to credit her team for any successes — Goodger is also a tireless champion for children.
To all our nurses, in recognition of School Nurse Day, we say thank you for prioritizing student wellness — this year and every year!