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Unsung heroes honored during National School Nurse Day

CASTLE ROCK – In the hustle and bustle of Douglas County schools, you may not immediately notice the impact of our school nurses, but every day they are making a difference in our students’ lives.
Wednesday May 8 is National School Nurses Day, an opportunity to honor the work of these amazing school health professionals, including 26 here in Douglas County and more than 74,000 across the country.
While many people know that school nurses take care of sick kids and dole out medications, they may not realize that they are extremely involved in ensuring that students have the support needed so they are ready to learn. In some cases it may be dealing with hunger from a child who forgot to eat to a previously undiagnosed disease.
“If a student is not feeling well—has a headache, has chronic conditions—diabetes for example and their blood sugars are out of control they are not going to learn,” explained Director of Health Services Paulette Joswick. 
Nurses work to determine any medical issues that a child might have and then they work as a case manager—ensuring the child has the required resources and acting as their advocate, when needed.
“When we take a child that has a significant issue and we work with all the different people in that child’s life; the doctors, the therapists, the teachers and they try to provide a holistic plan,” Joswick explained.
The nurses' work can be lifesaving. They have identified lumps, which have turned out to be cancerous, counseled students struggling with anorexia,  and intervened when students have considered taking their own lives.
“One nurse recognized a student that was suicidal and was able to talk the child out of her active plan to commit suicide that night by taking an overdose and got her help, because the child saw the nurse as someone she could talk to,” Joswick.
During budget cuts, DCSD was forced to cut back on the number of school nurses serving the system. Currently most of the nurses cover three to five schools, but that is improving. Joswick says they have been able to recover funding for serving students on Medicare, which has helped them hire two additional nurses.
She hopes as staffing levels improve, the nurses will be able to resume some of the other important roles they play in our schools, like educating students about health related topics.
“Who better than the nurse to be there for high school kids who have lots of questions about lots of things, like drugs and alcohol,” Joswick said.
Since 1972, National School Nurse Day has been set aside to recognize school nurses. It is always celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurse Week and National Nurse Week is always May 6th through May 12th. The celebration was established to foster a better understanding of the role of school nurses in the educational setting.  Learn more at :
DCSD's Health Services department will celebrate this Friday, during their monthly staff meeting.
October 14, 2013 | By Anonymous | Category:

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