Helping to guide us through the pandemic

School nurses accepted the challenges of the school year


Sophia DeSmet, Writer

This year has been a very hectic year with COVID. Thankfully we have some of the best nurses to take care of us when we don’t feel good at school.

Along with wearing masks and socially distancing, students also couldn’t go lay down in the nurse’s office, and faking sick wasn’t easy.  Being a school nurse is a challenging job during a regular year, but this year introduced significant challenges that nurses were willing to take on for the safety and health of the student body. 

 “I would say our job was more challenging this year because we had to learn how to become COVID-19 screeners and contact tracers.  Learning this was like starting a new job.  We had to figure out different ways that worked best for us in the nursing office. I love going to the classrooms more than having the kids come to the nurses office.  Going to the classes has made me feel like I am part of the school.  I know all the teachers better and the layout of the school.  It also helps that we have the teachers calling us and telling us the problem instead of depending on the kid’s version which for some little ones is very hard to remember why they are in the nurse’s office.  This helps us in diagnosing and treating the injury or sickness,” stated elementary school nurse Linda VanVliet.

Some of the same changes were evident in the middle and high schools.

“Being a nurse for a long time I have often been in situations where I needed to adapt. I was a nurse at summer camp during H1N1 flu which was similarly challenging to COVID but on a much smaller scale. I also began my career when the AIDS epidemic was just starting and nobody knew what the mysterious disease was that was killing people. I was caring for patients very hands on before they even had protective measures in place. Of course COVID was the biggest challenge of the year by far! But this year we also took our nursing care to the students via cart,  outside the classroom instead of the students coming to us. That was the biggest change and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. It became almost immediately apparent that this was a much better way to do school nursing! The students did not miss excessive classroom time and I enjoyed having a chance to be in the hallways to see the students in their classes,” stated high school and middle school nurse Maryellin Prager.

Nurses in general do so much, but taking care of the students is their top priority.  Regardless of ailment, nurses go out of their way to take care of each student’s individual problem.

“I wanted to be a nurse because I like helping people. Also, I wanted to have a great job after college. My favorite part of being a nurse is the many different opportunities I have had during my career as a nurse,” stated elementary school nurse Susan DeSmet.

Thank you for our nurses that took great care of us this year, and made sure we were safe during a pandemic.