School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: “It Takes A Nurse” Video Contest Runner-up is a School Nurse!


cropped-logo-clip.pngThe It Takes A Nurse Facebook community, in collaboration with the Campaign for Action, organized a special Nurses Week 2018 video contest to show the world how nurses change lives and transform communities! The 30-75 second videos about how nurses go above and beyond to promote healthy lifestyles were submitted in April.  The winners were announced during Nurses Week! (check out the contest guidelines here). The videos were reviewed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).  One of the second-place winners, (there was a tie) was a school Nurse!

This week’s Relentless School Nurse blog features Melissa Douglas, LPN, School Nurse for Richland Elementary School in Richland, MO.  Her staff thought so highly of the work she is doing for their school community, they encouraged her to submit a video and even filmed it for her. Read all about Melissa’s adventures in school nursing and the impact she is making in her school community.  Congratulations Melissa!

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Melissa Douglas, LPN,   Richland School District,  Richland, MO

Click here to view her winning video: It Takes A Nurse At Richland Elementary

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“My name is Melissa Douglas. I started my nursing career 27 years ago. I worked with geriatrics in long-term care and home health until 5 years ago. A former coworker was going on maternity leave and asked me if I would be interested in filling in for her as the school nurse. I was nervous but I really wanted to try it. My administrator approved for me to be late to work so that I could sub as the local elementary school nurse. I loved it! The next year I received a call from another school’s principal. He asked me if I would be interested in applying for the Middle/High school nurse position. He said that I was recommended by the school nurse that I had filled in for.

I started my new nurse journey in 2014. The next year I received a message that the local school district was hiring and I immediately accepted the position as the only nurse in the district for both the elementary and high school. I’ve been there 3 years now and I feel blessed to work with such wonderful students and faculty.

I immediately realized that there were so many students without adequate food, clothing and other basic needs. It’s hard to learn when your clothes don’t fit and your shoes hurt your feet. I keep clothing and toiletries in my office for any student to come in and take what they need. I also organized a back to school clothing drive for anyone that needed clothing could come and take what they needed. This is our 3rd year and we continue to grow and reach more and more people in Richland and other communities as well. 

Our community also has a school supply giveaway so that any student that needs a backpack and school supplies will go back to school with everything they need to start school. I helped organize and distribute supplies last year and will again this summer.

The school nurses before me started a Christmas gift adoption program and I’ve continued that program with an average of 100 students adopted each year. I also work with the local police department for their Shop with a Cop program. I select students that are most in need and they get to go shopping at Walmart with a police officer. I’ve had students that have never been shopping like that before. The joy it brings is priceless.

 Our school counselor, Ruth Ponce-Batts shares a joined office with me and we collaborate often. She heads the blessings in a backpack program. A group of volunteers from the Methodist Church in Richland packages and delivers bags of food to school so that Ruth and myself can place them in the students’ backpacks weekly for those students that otherwise wouldn’t have food to eat over the weekend. She also recorded and edited my video that I submitted to the It Takes a Nurse contest. Without the support of our school board, administration, community and countless volunteers none of these programs would be a success.

Along with regular office visits I also perform lice checks, administer medication, maintain immunization records, hearing and vision screenings, I also perform screenings at the local Head Start, teach CPR to our staff and coaches so that we are prepared in case of an emergency.

I feel like I’ve found my place in life and I want to stay here and continue to try and meet the needs of my students so that they can feel safe, learn and grow into the person that they want to be.” – Melissa Douglas LPN


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