School nurses speak on school ‘clinic’

The inner workings of the school nurse’s office


Sebastian Petzinger, Writer

You’re sitting in class and all of a sudden, your head starts to hurt and you think you might be sick. Many people’s first instinct is to call home and ask to be signed out of school but this may not be the best option. The Central Hardin nurse’s office has undergone a lot of change for the better during the turn of the new year.

First of all, our school nurse, Natalie Read, is a very hard worker and some may take her work for granted. On average, Read sees 30-40 sick students a day. This is a lot to squeeze into an 8:00-3:30 time frame, but she manages.

She said that she doesn’t do it for the money, but for the care and passion of keeping the students of Central Hardin healthy. In fact, never doubt that if you need to see her for any reason, she will help you to the best of her ability. She said that she will be there for anyone’s healthcare needs.

Now, we can talk about the changes that have occurred in the nurse’s office. Our school’s nurse’s office has transformed into a fully functional clinic, just like any other independent clinic, just built into the middle of the school. On top of that, the new clinic sees both students AND staff.

“This is not the same as the middle school nurse’s office you remember,” Read said.

According to Ibby Hopper, Director of School-Based Health Services, the school nurse’s office currently offers school nursing services, acute care visits, preventative care visits, school/sports physicals, immunizations, and chronic disease management.

Students also do not need to have insurance to receive care.

“The Healthy Kids Clinic accepts all insurance types and has alternative payment methods for students who are uninsured,” Hopper said.

Parents also remain in the loop with their child’s health at school.

“Guardians are always contacted prior to their student being seen by the nurse practitioner. While seeing the provider at school is a great option . . . those with an established family physician are welcome to continue that relationship,” Hopper said. “School-based services are a great ‘as needed’ option for those with established medical homes.”

Read encourages students to utilize these services if they do not have a medical home or if a visit to their medical home is not an option.

“Always come see the nurse with any doubt: virus, bug, headache, whatever.”