There are certain tasks that a health professional will have to perform when he or she is a nurse in an elementary school. The school nurse does more than take a child’s temperature when they aren’t feeling well. The nurse has to have certain characteristics that will help with all the things that happen in the day in the life of a school nurse. From emergencies to screenings to meetings with parents, the nurse of an elementary, middle or high school has to have a variety of vital skills and characteristics to make them perform well at their job.
1. Clear Thinking for Emergencies
Whether it’s a broken arm or leg from a vigorous game of tag out at recess or an allergic reaction to food during lunch, the nurse has to be ready to administer emergency first aid until the child can be taken to the hospital. This means the nurse has to be a fast, clear thinker who is trained to perform their duties quickly. As a health professional, the nurse can’t be stumped or hesitant when it comes to emergencies with the children at school. A calm demeanor is essential.
2. Analytical for Screenings
Often, there are certain screenings that take place at school. These could be educational screenings or eye and ear screenings for children who are having a hard time in school. The nurse will have to evaluate and analyze the screenings to ensure there are no problems with the child that need to be further evaluated by their primary care physician. The nurse at school is tasked with performing annual checks for the student’s health, and has to relay information with the parents in a way that isn’t upsetting for the child.
3. Mentor in Health Education
Topics like smoking, drug abuse, alcoholism and abuse are sensitive topics that require a nurse who is willing to mentor and listen to students. The nurse has to be a trusted adult who will be sensitive to the issues that elementary or middle school kids are faced with each day. The nurse has to be willing and available for the children to visit and share sensitive issues about what’s going on at home. It takes a lot of trust to get a child to open up about problems at home.
4. Communicate During Family Interactions
The nurse for the school is often the liaison between the school, the child and the parents. This person has to be able to communicate effectively and mediate if necessary when it comes to the best interest of the child. They’re much like an advocate for the student and should be able to have a line of communication open to the parents during a problem in school.
5. Nurturing and Patient for Sick Children
There are some kids who will spend hours at the nurse’s office during the week. They might need special attention, or they are having a hard time in school. The nurse has to gently yet firmly send the child back to class without stopping them from visiting the nurse’s office if they have a real problem.
The nurse at an elementary, middle or high school has a challenging yet rewarding job that requires a certain set of skills and characteristics. The person has to be patient, nurturing and kind while being firm and assertive at the same time. It’s a position that isn’t a great fit for everyone who goes to nursing school. As a school nurse, there can be some real challenges when dealing with families from a variety of backgrounds as well as children with behavioral issues.