What does a school nurse do?
It isn’t all Band-Aids and lollipops being a school nurse
By the time the first class ends, your average school nurse in the Bethlehem Central School District will have fielded five phone calls from parents, one from a doctor, conferred with five students and two sets of parents, spoken to two teachers as a result, and administered medication to at least one student.
School Nurse Coordinator Joann Menrath recently gave a presentation to the Bethlehem Central School District Board of Education detailing what, exactly, school nurses do for students, staff and parents.
“A lot of our time is spent communicating with parents and teachers,” said Joann Menrath, School Nurse Coordinator at BCSD. “Parents send their children to school healthy every day and they have the right to expect that we’ll safeguard their child’s health while they’re here. Communication is key in supporting those health needs.”
Menrath noted that last school year, nurses at BCSD held more than 9,000 conversations with parents, either by phone or in person.
But they’re not all talk, either.
Menrath says BC’s nurses triage student health concerns, provide nursing assessment of physical and emotional concerns, emergency care as needed, and counsel students on health and emotional issues among a host of other responsibilities.
That’s not counting the stacks of paperwork needed and physicals conducted so that students can safely play school sports.
"We do all of this with the goal of keeping children at school and in the classroom so that they can be academically successful,” said Menrath. “And I’m proud to say that about 95 percent of the students who visit a nurse in the Bethlehem Central School District return to class after their health office visit and nursing intervention.”
For a copy of the presentation Menrath gave to the Board of Education on December 7, click here [PDF].