Welcome to a new feature on the Relentless School Nurse website: “What Happened at School Today?” The idea for this view from different health offices is the result of discussions with school nurses across the country who wanted to share their practice settings. Last year, Abby Pelletier and I shared pictures taken from our perspective health offices. I am in an urban NJ school and she is in rural NH, so the differences were quite distinct.
“What Happened at School Today?” will feature pictures in and out of the office and a brief write up of a day in the life of a school nurse. It should be quite fun to hear about our school day and to view the variety of practice settings in which we work. If you are interested in sharing pictures from your health office, please email me at email@example.com, or message me on Twitter @RobinCogan!
It is up to us to take control of the narrative about what it means to be a school nurse. We need to share what we really do, not what people think we do. It is up to us to describe our role and what we face in a given day at school(s). I hope you join in this social media experiment!
A big shout-out and thank you to Liz Pray for being the FIRST to say yes! Here is what happened at school today for Liz! Thank you for sharing, and for being a pioneer in this new feature.
Here is the view from Moses Lake, WA this morning. Snowing and 28’ outside. It is 11:30 am and I have already been to my three schools, the transportation building, and the Administration Office. This morning started out with a quick meeting with a SpED bus driver and BDA at the school to talk about a student on the bus with a seizure disorder and rescue medications. About 20 minutes after she was dropped off at school she had a 2 1/2 minute tonic-clonic seizure pulling me into the classroom for monitoring. Luckily I was able to change my schedule around to allow me some extra time. This morning I received an email from a contractor to start moving AED’s into our new building, hence the trip to transportation and administration. While I was there one of the teachers called and her student had a blood sugar of 45 . Since they are on the other side of town we did some phone triage and treatment. After finally making it to my second school, I was able to talk with one of the first-grade teachers to determine a return to learn plan for a student diagnosed with a concussion yesterday. Unfortunately, I was only at that school for around 20 minutes before getting called to my third school to evaluate a kinder student having chest pain. As I sit here and write this it is a good time to reflect how busy we can be sometimes and the different things we see during our day. My hope is that one day it is a requirement to have a school nurse in every building. Thanks, Robin for giving me the opportunity to share.
Workload info: Elementary K – 5. Four days a week, I cover 3 schools with the furthest schools 3.5 miles away. I average 1450 students between three buildings. One day a week I have a fourth building that adds an additional 475 students and it is 5.4 miles from my furthest school.
Liz Pray started her school nursing career in the fall of 2014 with the Moses Lake School District. Prior to that, she worked in Family Practice for approximately 8 years along with agency nursing. Liz received her ADN from Big Bend Community College, BSN from Washington State University, and Masters in Nursing Education from Western Governors University in October 2015. Liz has been a member of the School Nurse Organization of Washington (SNOW) since fall of 2014 and was the Committee Chair for the 2016 Spring Conference. Currently, she is serving on the SNOW Board of Directors as the Vice President.
Liz is a single mom with one son and in their downtime, they like to fish, archery hunt, and camp. Liz is involved in a lot of different activities in the community and volunteers in the summer as one of the Boy Scout Medical Officers for Camp Bonaparte, Camp Nurse for the Cub Scouts, and at Camp Leo as medical staff. She serves on the local Boy Scout Troop Council as Secretary, is a Certified Stroke and Turn Official for USA Swimming, and an AHA Certified Instructor. A couple little known facts about Liz is that she is one of the first to volunteer to dress up in a fun costume at her schools for assemblies and she plays ice hockey with a team called the Goons.
7 thoughts on “The Relentless School Nurse: What Happened at School Today? Liz Pray MSN-Ed RN NCSN”
I am currently in school for the CSN certification at Slippery Rock University, and am coming to the end of the program. I am having trouble deciding on what masters degree to get: Special Ed, Public Health, Nurse Educator? I was wondering what you decided to get your masters in and if it has proven beneficial to your nursing practice.
I really enjoy following your blogs! They have proven to be very helpful and informative.
Hi, thank you for your message. I chose Nurse Educator and do find that it has been very helpful. It is a very personal decision though, so I am sure you will make the right one for you.
Liz Pray is an amazing school nurse here in Moses Lake, WA. She is on top of her game EVERYDAY!!
My wife, Sandra Laws, was THE School Nurse for Moses Lake SD161.She retired in1998 after 25 years of service. Sandra was hired as a second nurse but after 3 or 4 years the other nurse left, the district refused to hire a replacement. At the time of her retirement and most of her tenure she was the lone nurse for 12 schools and 4000, 5000 and finally over 6000 students. The nurse not only deals with the common aches, pains and fevers but district wide vision checks,dental checks, scoliosis checks and the never ending head lice. In addition there are home visits, calls, teacher conferences, parent conferences and the never end paper work. (no computers then) Many of her calls were made after hours from home, dictated by time and access to a phone. (No cell phones then) The administration refused or ignored her many requests for additional help. When you are a department of one and a non assertive person it’s too easy to to be overlooked or ignored. Her supervisors and administrators chose to hide their heads in the sand, or where ever, and take the approach if you don’t see a problem you don’t have to fix it. she was once told “you are not an educator and health is not a priority” . A sick kid has trouble learning and every one in the schools from the bus drivers and janitor to the top administrator is involved with education. I hope the present administration is doing a better job.
Hi Mr. Lewis, Liz wanted you to know “how far we have come. Now there are six nurses, 4 full time and 2 part time covering 15 buildings. Even though we still struggle but it sounds like health is more of a priority than it used to be. Shows how far a district can grow in 20 years.”
Liz you are an awesome nurse, thank you for all that you do!!
Liz Pray school nurse extraordinaire! Wonderful synopsis of a typical day in the life of a school nurse in our district. The general public is under the impression that there is a School Nurse in every building but nothing could be further from the truth. Keep up the good work Liz.