Monday, May 16, 2016

Somebody Make This Woman a Cape

Last week, my mom received the news that she was the Kansas State School Nurse of the Year.  This means that she is the best school nurse in the entire world.  Well, that's what I've decided, anyway.  And so that's what we're going to talk about today.

See, the more I talk to people, the more I read, the more I interact with the world at large, the more I find that many are still operating under the delusion that school nurses spend their days sitting in their offices, just waiting for a sick kid to wander in.  But the people who nominated Mom- fellow staff members, bless them- and the people who decided that she is The Best- fellow school nurses- all know better.  They know about all the vision and hearing and scoliosis screenings.  They know about endless blood sugar level checks (shout out to the diabetic kids), and finding someone who can speak an obscure language so you can communicate with a new family (shout out to the Chuukese), and finding some way to make CPR training entertaining for the tenth year in a row (shout out to anyone who's ever been the butt of one of my mom's jokes- it was for a good cause).

And that's not even getting into body parts being cut off because locker doors are surprisingly sharp and all the other astonishingly stupid ways middle schoolers can find to hurt themselves and each other.  It's also not getting into all the grant writing for health careers classes or AEDs or any of the other things schools need but don't get funding for (in Kansas?  That's basically everything.), or doing anything and everything to get parents and staff alike to make healthy choices for their kids, even if they're bound and determined to do the opposite.
Basically my mom's job.
Or hey, let's talk about some of the more glamorous aspects of her job.  Like nit picking!  I mean literal nit picking, as in picking head lice and nits out of kids' hair because apparently no one else is going to do it.  And what about that time she turned to my sisters and me and informed us that we were not allowed to answer the phone because there was a crazy, negligent, borderline abusive parent harassing her for doing her job?  Or if you really want to get scary- what about all the paperwork generated for everything I've just mentioned?  What about that?

Congratulations, Mom.  You're the best school nurse/obsessive hand washer/stand-up comedian specializing in blood-borne pathogens/mortifying sex educator/mom I've ever known.

"Lorri, someday you're going to be the Kansas State School Nurse of the Year.  All it will take to get there is swimming through an ocean of paperwork, ignorance, and disgusting bodily fluids."  "Super!  Sign me up!"  


  1. That is just awe inspiring. The STATE school nurse of the YEAR. That deserves many exclamation points: ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    My eyes were opened about school nurses when I was a chaperone on the band trip. There were two band medics for our 293 band kids. They spent their entire time dispensing medicines and dealing with various injuries and illnesses. And that was not even a whole school's worth of kids and did not include any stuff about writing grants (school nurses have to write grants to get things they need? WTF?) or sex education.

  2. Yay Mom! this post right here is why I chickened out of the position here in town. Summers off aren't all they're cracked up to be!

  3. Congratulations to your mom! It always amazes me how much we don't know about the jobs we don't have.

    Recently Emma woke up with a weird feeling in her throat, but had a test in third hour. She asked me to look at her throat, but I know nothing about how throats are supposed to look. So she went to school, and after taking the test she went to the nurse's office because she was considering coming home. But she asked the nurse to look at her throat before she made the decision. And the nurse reassured her that her throat might get worse, or it might get better, but it wasn't anything scary. That reassurance was all she needed, she stayed in school and whatever it was just went away on its own. I'll bet your mom does that all the time, and doesn't even realize the impact that has, on top of all the other things you mentioned.


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