School Nurse: Mom Away From Home

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The other day, I received this email from our school nurse, Mrs. Hurst.  The subject was “The Fales Trifecta in the Health Office.”

I left you a message earlier about Janey—had a headache and I gave her Advil 200mg. Wyatt was here with a friend. We got his shoelaces tied and he was all set to go. Sally got clocked with a friend’s lunchbox around the left eye and she has some swelling of the left eyelid and under the eye, a tiny scratch near the corner of her eye and a small scratch on her eyelid. She says her vision is fine and although the “white” of her eye is now pink, I don’t see any scratches on the eye itself. She walked back to class with Mrs. Vermeeren while holding an ice pack on her eye and says it doesn’t hurt anymore. Just keep an eye on her today….plus I didn’t want you to be worried when you saw her puffy eye at carpool!

Call me if you have any questions.

I only really had one question. Why did Wyatt go to the nurse to have his shoes tied? But I saved the question for him after school. He explained he was taking a friend who got a high-five related injury in class and the nurse happened to notice his shoes were untied.


One of the most coveted jobs in school is being chosen to walk a friend to the nurse. Because of technological advances, our kids will never know the thrill of being chosen to get the film projector and wheel it into the classroom, but walking someone to the nurse, thankfully, is still a highly regarded duty.

It causes three feelings. One: Your teacher acknowledges you are responsible, and that makes you feel proud. Two: You feel like a good friend, and that makes you feel important. Three: You get to leave class and that makes you feel excited.

Of course, if you’re the sick kid going to the nurse, different emotions are felt, ranging from scared to sad, on top of feeling sick. Hopefully, kids have a calm and smiley school nurse like we do, because most kids need a little love as much as they need medical attention.

I think of just my kids and the myriad of reasons they have been to the school nurse over the years. Vision and hearing screenings, chronic bloody nose bleeds, a broken arm falling from the monkey bars, a concussion during P.E., head lice, a bathroom accident, bee sting, fevers, a mysterious rash, and a number of little bumps and bruises that required ice packs. Janey says all the kids agree that Mrs. Hurst has the best cough drops she’s ever had, but she only gives you two at a time.

Movies often depict school nurses as either ditzy, mean, or as a sex symbol.

One of my favorite scenes from the movie, “Napoleon Dynamite” is when Napoleon calls home and his brother Kip answers:

Napoleon Dynamite: Can you bring me my chapstick?

Kip: No, Napoleon.

Napoleon Dynamite: But my lips hurt real bad!

Kip: Just borrow some from the school nurse. I know she has like five or six in her drawer.

Napoleon Dynamite: I’m not gonna use hers, you sicko!

In real life, most nurses are just real people, with a wealth of knowledge and a heavy dose of patience. Mrs. Hurst is always at the ready with an ice pack, a thermometer, a paper cup or water, cough drops, and a smile. She is like a mom away from home and that causes me to have three feelings: Thankful. Thankful. Thankful.

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