Melanie Hicklin recently won the Iowa School Nurse Award for 2015. She has worked at Valley High School in West Des Moines for 20 years and continues to provide health services to students and staff.
These days that means watching over more than 2,000 students and 200 staff each day.
How do you feel about the award?
It’s wonderful to be recognised after 20 years. But as always, I’m just quietly going about my job of helping students stay healthy.
Is the administration encouraging?
I get by with the help of supportive administration, faculty and a health assistant. The administration allows me to have autonomy in my practice to create a safe and healthy environment. They support professional development, and the faculty really know their students.
How do teachers deal with health issues?
Teachers don’t send students to the health office on a whim. They really observe when students have health issues that need attention.
How has the level of care changed over the years?
When joined the staff at Valley High School 20 years ago, I mostly dealt with sore throats and ear aches. Today, mental health is the biggest issue students face. Anxiety and depression are exacerbated by the proliferation of social media and bullying.
Cold and flu?
It still crops up. We had an outbreak of influenza hit the school before the holiday break.
What about emergencies?
We average 6 emergency calls a year. Luckily the top-notch West Des Moines paramedics are kitty-corner across the street and can be here before I take a breath.
How does life as an Australian School Nurse compare? Would you like to share a day in your life as a School Nurse?
How do you go about helping improve the health and wellbeing of students? What’s your biggest challenge? What support do you need to do a better job as a School Nurse?
We’re creating a new feature that recognises and celebrates the good work of School Nurses around Australia. Each month we’d like to interview a dedicated School Nurse.
Ideally the questions and answers will reveal some unexpected insights that will encourage greater communication and benefit other School Nurses.
If you’re interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a quick and easy phone interview.