Teachers are charged with ensuring students learn and are prepared for the road ahead and the likelihood of accomplishing this is greatly increased with the assistance of school nurses. School Nurse Day was celebrated in Lee County School District and throughout the state of South Carolina this month for their contribution to their communities in keeping students healthy in school and ready to learn.
S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster issued a proclamation declaring May 8, School Nurse Day. In the proclamation, the governor calls school nurses “a liaison to the school community, families, and healthcare providers on behalf of children’s health.”
Shelia Stukes, principal of Lower Lee Elementary School, says though access to the nurse is limited to two days a week for her nearly 230 students, her contribution can be felt. Earlier this month, her school’s nurse Amy Lisenby, facilitated wellness screenings through CareSouth Carolina-Bishopville and it was just one way she works to safeguard students’ academic success.
“She makes sure our students are current with their shots and she communicates with the doctors of some of our students to ensure they get their medicine,” says Stukes. “Parents can bring their medicine to school so the nurse can administer it. Her contribution impacts the entire student body.”
The students seem to know the benefits as well.
“You can get checked and see if your body is healthy,” says 6-year-old Alleshia Hooks, a student at Lower Lee Elementary.
Nurses Latasha Rampasard and Barbie Wilks serve the more than 500 students at Dennis Elementary School. The school nurses provide preventive services, identifying problems in the earliest stages, oversees intervention and referrals and so much more according to Dennis’ Principal Ricky White. He cites a specific incident where the nurse’s prompt response to a situation may have saved a child’s life.
“Earlier this year we had a student who had a childhood seizure and maybe the parent was unaware (that the child experienced them),” says White. “The nurse stabilized the child and contacted the parent and EMS. She updated us on the student’s status and what she did to care for the student.”
Principals agree that the governor’s proclamation affirms the diligence of the nurses. It also acknowledges the more than 100 years nurses have filled this critical role in the state’s schools.
Photo collage: Nurses Lisenby and Rampasard with students Alleshia Hooks and Shimirah Brisbon, respectively