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Thank a school nurse! Their day is May 9

Recognition is due for 11 local women on May 9, National School Nurse Day.

This day “shows appreciation and recognizes the impact school nurses have on our students and staff,” Bonnie Davis said. She works as the district’s nursing supervisor and at Bob Jones High School.

Each day, school nurses see students with acute and chronic illnesses, injuries, along with promoting healthy habits and lifestyles. ” We use our professional judgment and knowledge to discern if a student is sick and should be at home or school,” Davis said.

Along with Davis, registered nurses in Madison City Schools are Laura Dickinson, Columbia; Lisa Harmon, Horizon; Linda Haney, Madison; Faith Aderholt, Mill Creek; Kara Koler, Rainbow; Aimee Allen, West Madison; Kelly Brewer, Discovery; Benita Tunstill, Liberty; Nancy Bocchino, Bob Jones and system-wide health educator; and licensed practical nurse Pam Peppers, Heritage.

Gone are the days when parents send a note with medication in a baggie, Davis said. Nurses must follow strict guidelines from the State Department of Education and Alabama Board of Nursing.

However, school nurses can administer most prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, including injections, with physician and parental authorization. Stomach aches, headaches and sore throats are the most common complaints.

At Bob Jones, Bocchino and Davis treat nosebleeds, panic/anxiety attacks, hunger, sunburns and rashes. They provide blood pressure checks, two tube feedings and 10 daily medications.

Peppers prefers her job, compared to working for a doctor. Typically, Peppers assists students with asthma, seizures, allergic reactions, mental health issues, diabetes and head lice.

Koler didn’t choose school nursing. “It choose me. What a great job it has been.” A mother of five, she values working at her children’s school. Koler sees 60-80 children daily. Working for doctors, she responded to 3-5 people simultaneously. That number now is 700 people daily.

Before school, Tunstill is preparing daily medications. By 7:30 a.m., the clinic opens. Her favorite complaint is “‘I don’t feel good’ as they get off the bus.”

Dickinson administers about 10 medicines daily and cares for two diabetics. As time permits, she works on blue cards, health assessments and care plans.

“I chose the path of school nurse to be one-on-one with the kids,” Allen said. “I love being close to the parents on a personal level, too.”

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