Monday, May 6, 2013

If Not For The School Nurse

"May the Lord reward your efforts! May your acts of kindness be repaid fully by the Lord God of Israel, from whom you have sought protection!”
~ Ruth 2:12, NET ~

The kids are filling her office before she barely has both feet in the door each morning.  She should be wearing a super hero cape for the number of kids with chronic illnesses she cares for on top of the typical sneezes, sniffles and nausea each day.  Medication schedules and interruptions for asthma inhalers rule her day.  And if you want to know what is causing the latest wave of absences, she can tell you.  She is our school nurse.

We have been blessed by one of the finest school nurses in the nation at our intermediate school.  Denise has grit, wisdom, compassion and comedic relief all resulting from her law enforcement, nursing and parenthood experiences.  While many school staff might be fearful of dealing with someone who has a diagnosis like our son's, we have been blessed to have a health room leader who assists both us and our kids with warmth and confidence.

To tell you the kind of person Denise is, let me share with you how she saw us through after our son's hospitalization last year.  Confined to a wheelchair and equipped with a PICC line in his arm, we needed to get him assimilated back into the school setting.  Denise met with myself, our son and the vice principal to discuss what his needs were and how she could see him through.  She brainstormed with us, even offering him safe haven in her office and a trial run on a half-day of school.  He couldn't participate in vigorous physical activity lest he cause himself a reinjury.  Yet, he needed mild activity to prevent atrophy.  Denise worked at having either herself, another staff member or even a student get our son out of the wheelchair, slowly walking the halls of the school while the others were at recess.  She checked his PICC line once a day to assure there were no signs of infection.  And when he accidentally strained his arm with the line in it, and felt the need to call home, she endured the harsh scrutiny of the district nurse who acted like Denise knew nothing of what she was doing.

The care of this school nurse has truly been life-changing for a family like ours.  Certain diagnoses can be confining, debilitating and isolating.  Our school nurse has offered us the ability to normalize life as much as humanly possible, and she does it as if it is just a matter of course.  We love her to pieces!

May 8, 2013 is National School Nurse Day.  This observance always falls on the Wednesday of National Nurses Week, which was first proclaimed by President Richard Nixon back in 1974.  Subsequently, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed "National Recognition Day for Nurses" to be May 6, 1982.  These dates being based around both the birthday and mission of Florence Nightingale, the American Nurses Association then permanently designated May 6 - May 12 to be a week of recognition to honor those in the profession back in the 1990's.  The tradition continues to this day.

An indispensable, key member of any special needs family's team, nurses (and the school nurse in particular) should be someone we go out of our way to remember and thank.  Here are some simple gestures to show our appreciation:
  • A personal certificate in a picture frame along with some baked goods or candy show you care.
  • A poem or picture written by your child is a thoughtful expression of love.
  • Gift cards for gas, her favorite place to shop or even a dinner out can be a surprise luxury.
  • A homemade gift basket with goodies just to pamper her can be memorable.
  • Hand-picked flowers from your garden or a simple bouquet from your grocer are sweet.
  • Humorous items such as funny/unusual gloves, masks or bandages along with a card can even recognize the day.
  • For more ideas, visit out Pinterest board for "Thank You Gifts"
Whatever you decide to do, make certain that you acknowledge the value of that school staff member whom you and your child could not do without.

PRAY:  Lord, bless our school nurse.  Thank You for how she watches over our child during the school day.  Help her to know how very grateful we are for her care. 

Photo Image Courtesy of 123RF

1 comment:

  1. Barbara D!!!

    Thank you so much. It is an honor to work with you and your kids! They are great individuals with awesome personalities. It's families like yours that make my job the best in the whole world!!!

    Love you!