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School nursing is more than Band-Aids

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fort HealthCare is honoring its team of seven school nurses during National School Nurses Day on May 12. Today, school nursing is recognized as a specialized practice that advances the well-being, academic success and lifelong achievement of students. More than simply a place to lie down or get a Band-Aid, school nurse offices, or health rooms as they are often referred to, have become a home base for the increasing number of children with chronic illnesses like diabetes and cancer, or special needs like those with blindness or feeding tubes. In addition, there are everyday emergencies, like the student in Tech Ed who’s fingers get to close to a blade or a student in Physical Ed who falls down and hits her head.

Healthy children learn better, which is why in February legislation was introduced to better support school nurses in the administration of drugs to pupils. “All Fort HealthCare nurses have bachelor’s degrees in their field. Their education includes specific topics on community health which is exactly what school nursing is all about,” remarked Rosi Berger, manager of Fort HealthCare’s school nursing program. Their education and experience allows them to provide advanced services to students who are recovering from illness or surgery, have injuries or need chronic care.

In addition, school nurses are seen as the health care expert within the school and are often the immediate contact in crisis situations such as the recent H1N1 outbreak. Lisa Jensen, RN, BSN and school nurse for Fort Atkinson schools was responsible for closing Barrie Elementary during the outbreak. “It was hectic and a challenging decision, but when children’s health is at stake a school nurse is required to do what is best for them,” Jensen said. Challenging health decisions and high level care are what make school nursing the complex specialty it is today.

Fort HealthCare school nurses are Mary Hunt, RN, BSN for Cambridge Schools, Diana Hoffman, RN, BSN for Whitewater Schools, Lisa Jensen, RN, BSN for Fort Atkinson Schools, Toni Zastrow, RN, BSN for Lake Mills Schools, Lynn Zaspel, RN, BSN for Jefferson Schools, Sarah Borchert, RN, BA for Waterloo Schools and Barb Bendall, RN, BSN for Deerfield and Marshall Schools.
Students, visit to leave a message of appreciation to your school’s nurse during May and you will receive a free gift. Be sure to include the name of your school. To learn more about nursing at Fort HealthCare, visit