School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Smiling With My Eyes Through a Facemask


I was having a chat on Twitter about smiling with my eyes when wearing a facemask.  I was hoping that my students could still tell that I was smiling at them, even if my mouth was covered. It turns out there is a word for smiling with your eyes – Smize! It is also called the Duchenne Smile, named for Guillaume Duchenne, the 19th-century scientist who mapped musculature, including facial muscles.

The challenges ahead of us are enormous, sometimes they feel overwhelming to face. I know how I feel at times and then I saw this message from a parent…

She cried herself to sleep last night, asking why she couldn’t go to school. She cried with so much hurt, it broke my heart. She asked for her teachers and asked to play with her friends. She cries when we have had to put her mask on. “Mom, please I don’t want to wear this .”😔 This is affecting her and I can’t help but try to help her understand why things are so different.

 I am sure many of you have received similar messages. Then I saw this picture shared from an online class:

We will be smiling beneath our facemasks. In the meantime, the work that school nurses across the country are doing to stay connected to their students is essential. Reaching out to parents, checking in on students and staff, providing resources, listening, and responding, that is what we do best. If there is one thing I know for sure, the pandemic has shown that school nurses are not a compilation of tasks performed, but are experts at connecting and relationship building. 

Smile away friends, especially if it is through a facemask, and make sure your smile reaches your eyes. Our students will notice.



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