By BELLE BRUNNER
Concord High School Senior
Helping students with things such as bump and bruises and playground falls are typically what people think a school nurse does. But that’s just what’s on the surface.
“It’s the perfect (combination) of education and the nursing world just both put together,” said Nurse Stacey Pavlovic, who oversees the Concord Nursing Department and is also Concord Ox Bow Elementary's school nurse. Pavlovic is one of seven nurses helping the Concord district meet the needs of students.
“I like the positive influence on the community. In the hospital setting you’re used to just seeing sick people and you take care of them and send them off,” said Concord High School nurse Morgan Castillo. “In school nursing you are able to help the needs of the students and their families when they have a chronic illness, but you’re also continuing to teach them.”
Both Pavlovic and Castillo began their careers in the medical setting, but soon found themselves merging that with education. It was through their medical training that they learned about the possibility of a pandemic.
“I’ve done this for a long time, but I really never thought I would see a pandemic affect us here in the U.S, but I’ve always known that it was a possibility,” said Pavlovic.
Never could they have imagined having to experience this in their lifetime.
Overnight, the role of school nurse became critical in keeping the COVID-19 virus from spreading in schools.
“We’ve had to develop plans and guidelines and how to work it day to day in a school setting. And I’ve learned to be very flexible this year,” said Pavlovic.
There’s just a natural sort of flow that the school nurses go through yearly that includes hearing and vision screenings, immunizations, and other student health concerns.
“This year we have had to do all of that, and throw a pandemic in there too,” stated Pavolvic. In a normal school year, nurses typically deal with things such as bloody noses and stomach aches. But this year they had to shift their focus to more COVID-related symptoms, which led to contact tracing and students having to be sent home.
“There is quite a ripple effect when we have to send a student home,” said Pavlovic.
Sending students home because of illness or quarantine “impacts their family and the parents who have to maybe stay home with the younger children,” she explained.
By working together, the nurses were able to educate students and parents about how they can help keep others safe at home and at school. As difficult as this year has been, helping the students be informed and stay healthy continues to be their focus. “Everyone wants what’s best for the students,” Castillo said.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Belle Brunner is a senior at Concord High School, where she is actively involved in golf and swimming. She is serving as an intern for the spring semester and will be writing stories about students and staff at Concord Community Schools.