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School nurses deal with more than sick students
School nursing with healthy goals

Information from: The Paducah Sun, http://www.paducahsun.com
Posted on Sun, Jan. 27, 2008


The Associated Press


School nurses have to deal with more than seasonal sicknesses these days.

On a recent morning, McCracken County school nurse Kay Story checked on strange rashes, took temperatures, examined for head lice, counted carbohydrates for a diabetic student and helped a student who suffered a seizure. And that was before noon.

Story, who worked at a hospital before becoming a school nurse 14 years ago, said she and two other nurses stay busy tending to students all year long.

Nurses still deal with maladies such as sinus problems and allergies, but there's been an increase in students being treated for diseases such as diabetes, Story said.

Paducah Public Schools district health coordinator Celeste Emerson said she's noticed an increase in diabetic students since she started her job 13 years ago.

"That keeps you busy a lot of time," she said. "A lot of them require shots at school every day."

Livingston County Schools added two nurses this year in a partnership with the Pennyrile District Health Department.

Tonya Padon works at the Cardinal Clinic in the adjoining Livingston County Middle and North Livingston Elementary schools.

"I think more and more schools are getting nurses because the need is there," Padon said. "We have so many more special-needs kids and kids on daily medicines than ever before ... I see between 30 and 50 kids a day, and I've seen as many as 65 and 68."

Besides diabetes, Padon sees students on medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, asthma, seizures and acid reflux.

"Our goal is to keep them in school as much as possible, so they're not getting behind," Padon said. "They healthier they are, the better they're going to do."

Nurse Kara McMullen serves six of Graves County's elementary schools.

"There's so many things we can do as a school nurse," McMullen said. "I do education classes with the kids on hand washing and hygiene. We do tend to have more kids on medicine than 20 years ago. I can't be at all the schools, so I train people to give the medicine."