- Paxson Elementary
- What is a school nurse and what do they do?
About Your School Health OfficePosted by Lisa Flanagan on 4/10/2020
"Nursing care comes in many forms. Sometimes it is the ability to make someone feel physically comfortable by various means. Other times it is the ability to improve the body’s ability to achieve or maintain health. But often it is an uncanny yet well-honed knack to see beyond the obvious and address, in some way, the deeper needs of the human soul." ~Donna Wilk Cardillo, A Daybook for Beginning Nurses
Welcome to the Paxson Health Office. As one of the ~6 registered nurse case managers in the MCPS school district, I have worked at Paxson since 2015. Prior to becoming a school nurse, I worked for nearly 20 years in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, starting as a staff nurse and then joining the Neonatal Transport Team, eventually adding Staff Development Coordinator/Educator, electronic medical record super-user, and shared role as unit manager to my experiences.
After nearly two decades in the hospital setting it was time to try something new; to be challenged in new ways. I was fortunate enough to be able to try school nursing and it has been an amazing experience.
So what does a school nurse do? It is so much more than ice packs, band-aids and lice.
I serve as a resource person for staff and respond to situations that require additional medical training. Those situations may be emergent, intermittent, and regularly scheduled. In addition, I discuss student health concerns with parents and guardians to determine the best course of action to keep the student as safe as possible in the school setting. That action may include staff communication and training, development of healthcare and emergency plans, student education and team meeting attendance. First aid continues to be a mainstay in the health office, but as student medical needs have become more complicated, our role is much more complex. Diabetes, asthma, seizures, TBI's (concussions) and life-threatening allergies are examples of the complexity for which we help families and staff prepare and care for. Click for more information about school nursing.
Immunization record review and compliance determination, vision screening, classroom health education, healthcare provider communication, health history review, and maintenance of health records are additional functions the school nurse performs. Prevention, recognition and education of communicable illnesses are another function, as well as recognizing mental health concerns and referring to appropriate resources. Sometimes we are the first people a student will reach out to and sometimes we are the last resort. It is extremely important we recognize where that student lies in that continuum and respond accordingly. This is an enormous responsibility and we take it seriously.
I share my time between my 3 assigned schools and also provide nursing care at other schools in the district as needed. This means school staff are often responsible for initial student health concerns and requires we all work as a strong team. I am deeply grateful for the people I work with every day and their capacity for caring can not be measured in words.
I cannot stress enough that communication between the family and school is incredibly important to help provide the best education experience for each student. Please feel free to contact me by email or cell phone.
Thank you, Lisa
Lisa Flanagan, BSN, RN, NCSN