School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: What Happened at School Today – Tessa McIlraith Reflects on Caring for Students with Diabetes


Tessa McIlraith is a Washington State school nurse who is brings her unique style, perspective, and creativity to her practice. You can learn more about Tessa and her work through listening to the podcast linked in this blog post from last school year:

The Relentless School Nurse: What Happened at School Today – Listen to Tessa McIlraith’s Podcast to Find Out!

I read a post from Tessa’s Facebook page about her experience working with students and families as they navigate the tricky waters of managing Diabetes. November is Diabetes awareness month and I thought Tessa’s brief, but powerful remarks need to be shared with the readers of this blog.

I’ve walked alongside many families navigating diabetes. Some having managed for years, some with new diagnosis. They all have different needs, successes and struggles. I’ve seen insurance deny life saving medication and change glucometer every month, cost thousands monthly. I’ve seen students crash, cry and fight. Missed classtime for monitoring. Missed practice or PE because the numbers just don’t care about that important game. My 💙 goes out to all of my friends and families impacted by T1D. #loveyourschoolnurse


Bio of Tessa McIlraith, BSN, RN:
I started my nursing career as a CNA and worked my way from LPN to BSN. School nursing has been an amazing adventure. I love working with students and families for a longer duration throughout their education. It is gratifying seeing students learn to navigate their health and education goals. Leadership and advocacy are vital to being a school nurse. As a medical professional in the education setting, I must keep up on a variety of skills and knowledge about a very widespread practice. My goal is to be an asset to my community for health and well-being. Our practice is based on evidence-based practices and we are professionals. As the Legislative Chair of our state school nurse organization, I am a voice that helps our legislators and administrators fully understand and acknowledge the work school nurses do. I also enjoy the outdoors, own a farm, teach at a dance studio and have a wonderful, active family!
Workload: I currently am a District nurse overseeing 2 other amazing registered nurses and 9 health assistants. My caseload includes preschool to our transition program for up to 21-year-old students. I have approximately 1400 students and 2 buildings.


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