Michelle Williams lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Michelle oversees the health and wellbeing of 1,200 students.
How long have you been a School Nurse?
I’ve been in nursing since 1995 when I graduated. This will be my eighth year as a School Nurse.
What has been the most challenging?
The most challenging thing has been the number of students that I have to take care of. At one time, I had three schools in two different districts. The numbers, the students you have to look after, that's the biggest challenge. You can't be in three places at one time.
Why is this rewarding for you?
The thing I like the best is establishing and having a relationship with the students. I have them from the time they are in sixth grade until they graduate high school. I get to know them over a seven-year period. Some of them become, in a way, almost like my own children, because I see them everyday. My diabetics, I see them every day, two or three times a day. It's not like they're just in and out, especially with my chronically ill kids, I get to know them really well. I've always loved kids.
How has your family played a part in this career?
I like working with teenagers. I know that's not always some people's first choice, but I enjoy it. My children have been the same age as the children where I have worked, and I have felt like I have been able to relate to them. They come and talk to me about problems they have at school or at home.
What is one of the most difficult situations you face?
I think school nursing is very rewarding. It's also very challenging. I don't know that a lot of people realise the huge amount of responsibility. I may have around 1,200 students. That's a lot of responsibility when you're thinking immunisations, health issues, medication administration if they’re diabetic, seizures or asthmatic, and not only in one school, but three schools, and all the communication between staff and parents.
What does someone who interested in school nursing need to know?
You've got to really love kids and be really assertive. I'm the only School Nurse at my school, and I have one more School Nurse in my district. We cover each other, but you have to be really self-disciplined because ultimately you work on your own.
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?
At Student First Aid we recognise and celebrate the good work of School Nurses around the world. Each month we 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.