School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Life Lessons From a Middle Schooler

Judy Doran does it again, another powerful guest blog from the writer of “Maine Points,” who shares a life lesson she learned from a middle schooler. Read this poignant conversation she had as an OB nurse with one of her youngest patients. Thank you Judy for sharing your story from the field. 

My first experience with the spirit, power and complicated depth of a middle schooler came years before I was a school nurse. It happened one night shift when I worked as an OB nurse.

I was 36 weeks pregnant with my first child.

I was called by a fourteen year old girl into her room. She was going to be induced in the morning. The room was full of pink things and tiny dresses. Her friends had thrown her a party/shower. I’d seen them the evening before, all giggles and wide eyed. Her mom was probably my age. 

She motioned to me to sit down on her bed next to her and handed me a tiny red and white and blue baseball uniform, complete with a cap and she said, “here, you’re going to need this more than I do and I want you to have it.” At first she was looking at her lap. Then she was looking in my eyes as she was placing the uniform in my hands. 

She explained to me that she had decided in total opposition to peer and family pressure, to give her child up for adoption. She was clear and powerful as she explained to me all the reasons…….best life for her baby, her education, her future. Her family was not educated. She was saying it out loud for the first time and it is still one of the most powerful conversations of my life. 

In the quiet of the middle of the night all alone she had come to an extraordinary decision, by herself, for herself and for the baby. I was so inspired by her strength and resolve and so honored to be with her. I will never forget the humanity and guts of that young girl! And I was one proud gal dressing my baby girl in that goofy baseball uniform. 

Years later when the baseball uniform was long outgrown, I started my career as a middle school nurse. I never had anything quite as dramatic as the baseball uniform night, but I had many glimpses into the lives of these kids that would remind me that they are so much more than meets the eye. 

So not for the first time, I’m going to wax on the privilege of being a nurse. It’s real. I’m feeling it today. And for many who know me, you know I can pick apart situations, wonder why things are so and so, be sarcastic, not always offer solutions. Today, I am feeling the privilege. –  Judy Doran


2 thoughts on “The Relentless School Nurse: Life Lessons From a Middle Schooler”

  1. This is so powerful. I heard Judy Doran’s voice in my head and it made me want to hear her reading it for your blog. I am left to believe that Judy Doran provided a respectful nonjudgemental safe space, along with others in her life, for this young girl to decide her future and this child’s future. Profound moments in nursing. i will be thinking about this story the rest of the day.

    1. Thank you for sharing this powerful reflection Barbara, I will be sure to let Judy know!

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