This week, WJCC Schools is celebrating the amazing employees who support student success and make our schools and offices great places to learn and work. Meet Emily Olsen, school nurse at Berkeley Middle School, where she has served in this capacity for five years.
Describe a day in the life of a school nurse…
Blood sugar checks, carbohydrate counting, insulin injections, ketone testing, calls to doctors, stethoscopes, breath sounds, oxygen saturation measurements, inhalers, nebulizers, medication administrations, nutrition counseling, eye drops, loose teeth, bandaids, bloody noses, first aid, seizure management, parent calls, tearful students, listening ears, maxipads, menstrual cramps, moody teenagers, CPS referrals, collaboration, accessibility issues, creative problem solving, student assistance plans, attendance meetings.
What is your favorite thing about working in WJCC Schools?
A great day at work is when…
I am able to connect with students on an individual level. Students make me smile and remind me of the promise within each of us. What a special role that we (staff) are fortunate enough to have an opportunity to play even a very small part in helping students tap into their realization that they are wonderfully unique and capable of some awesome stuff!
Three words to describe my job are:
Autonomous, adaptable, caring.
Why is your role important to the school division?
School nurses meet children wherever they are on the health continuum and support their access to education. This support extends to children, parents, teachers, and staff. School nurses have a meaningful opportunity to build rapport with people in many different roles.
What would surprise people about your job?
This role is so much more than bandaids and ice bags. It is a combination of strong assessment skills, autonomous decision making, discernment, solid nursing judgement and case management. The successes are small and sometimes not even quantifiable, but the focus is always child-centric.
If you could do a different job in the school division for a week, what would you choose?
An elementary school librarian, because I remember loving library day as a young child. I still have vivid memories of sitting in the library well at my elementary school, listening intently to the story that the librarian read. I loved everything about books: the way they smelled, the way the pages felt in my fingers, the crinkly sound of the plastic book covers, the anticipation of enjoying whatever story was between the pages. What a fun job…to inspire students’ excitement about reading, and to make books come alive in their minds! Books can be both a wonderful escape and a retreat at the same time…we all need that no matter our age.