Lori Arnette is a school nurse for the Prescott School District in Wisconsin. Lori has been a school nurse for 16 years.
When did you decided to become a school nurse?
I learned a long time ago as a nurse I could either take good money and bad hours or less money and good hours. I have two children and it’s nice to have the hours they have, be off when they are and go to their functions. I couldn’t do that if I worked at a hospital. Even when I was in nursing school I wanted to find a school nurse job.
What are the biggest changes in school nursing since you began?
There’s been a lot of changes. When I began, school nurses didn’t do body mass index checks for obesity because BMIs didn’t exist. The medical needs of students have also changed. I now see more students with chronic needs than ever before.
How does your typical day begin?
Medications first. From there First Aid takes over with bumps, bruises and scrapes needing attention. The paperwork never ends as the immunisation records of students must be checked to make sure they’re up to date and students have had all the required vaccinations. Nursing never stops.
Does immunising students help?
There has been a noticeable drop in absences because of the flu vaccine. We did have some cases last year, but you can tell the difference from when I started and didn’t have flu clinics. It’s not as widespread as it used to be. The school flu clinics help everyone – students, teachers, and the virus isn’t carried home with the students.
Is managing time a major challenge?
I do what I can during the day and roll with the flow. You do what you have to do and squeeze in the rest when you have time. There are always emergencies, people coming in and phone calls.
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 email@example.com to arrange a quick and easy phone interview.