School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Overheard in a High School Nurse’s Office

Lynne Signore BSN, RN, NCSN,is a Maine high school nurse who has been collecting and sharing things that happen or what she overhears in her health office for years. She typically posts the list, which she continues to add to, every school nurse day. Her friend, Judy Doran, a colleague and a fellow Maine school nurse suggested she share her poem with me to post. I think it perfectly captures the wide variety of scenarios that play out in school nurses’ offices every single day. 


Overheard in a High School Nurse’s Office  

by Lynne Signore BSN, RN, NCSN  

Lacerations, wound care, heat-rash, I just ate some red berries, anaphylaxis, sore  throat, wet pants, I forgot to put on panties under my skirt this morning, I think I’m  pregnant, I think I was pregnant, I’m having twins, My mom died last week, My Dad  beats me, vomiting, broken bones, sprains, strains, gum in hair, bug bites, human bites,  Does this mole looks funny, scraped knees, scraped hands, scratched corneas, My  zipper won’t zip, pink eye, hang nails, heartburn, There’s blood on the toilet paper after  I poop!, I have a rock in my nose, I have something in my ear, feminine hygiene,  masculine hygiene, slag burns, tooth pain, jaw pain, tongue pain, What are these itchy  spots?, fever, flu, strep, worms, allergies, asthma, ADD, ADHD, ODD, ASD, OCD, BPD,  MD, cancer, self harm, suicidality, panic attacks, addiction, drama, fights, falls, I got  raped, hunger, questions about sex, questions about sexuality, home-sickness, We  don’t have food at home, The baby’s not moving!, cramps, crying, burns, drug  intoxication, blood pressure checks – so many blood pressure checks, diabetes,  obesity, malingering, syncope, I feel hot, I feel cold, I feel weird, I can’t feel at all, I think  I’m dying, I wish I was dead, I didn’t sleep last night, There’s no electricity at my house,  The other kids laugh at me, I hate my teacher, seizures, psychogenic non-epileptic  seizures, vision screenings, My mom made me get an abortion, My mom won’t let me  get an abortion, It burns when I pee, My ______ killed themself, My ______ overdosed,  factitious disorder, lice, immunization compliance, immunization non-compliance, care  plans written for non-medical personnel for the above stated health concerns, medical  review for students with IEPs, obtaining signatures for medical records, tracking  communicable diseases, mentoring new school nurses, precepting nursing students,  organizing flu clinics, organizing dental clinics, This class is so boring, I bled through  my clothes, I didn’t have any clean socks, do you have any? Is the yeast in my belly button the same kind that’s in bread? Can I eat it?, My parents kicked me out, I have no place to go, My wisdom teeth hurt. chapped lips, I forgot deodorant, Do you have wax  for braces?, eczema cream, anorexia, I need a pad/tampon, answering questions for  staff, I have something in my eye, calls to parents for more meds or to pick up meds,  concussion screening, referrals, follow up and treatment, SAT meetings, panic attacks,  professional development, I’m just here to say hi and I love you, splinters, ear pain, tick  removal, sore throat, Do you have something for stinky feet?, earplugs, Can you fix my  glasses?, Can you get super glue off of my lenses because I tried to fix my glasses? How can I get glasses?, sew a tear, dry a tear, remove blood from pants and/or  upholstery, Can I get a hair tie?, calls to poison control…


Thank you, Lynne, for sharing your compilation of the vast array of scenarios that happen in your health office. I also appreciate the sentiment you use in your signature line:

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. – Charles Wesley

6 thoughts on “The Relentless School Nurse: Overheard in a High School Nurse’s Office”

  1. So Powerful! Thanks to Lynn for sharing this and you for reprinting it! If the public only realized all School Nurses do all day every day!!!

  2. This is great and so on point. I will share this with our new and returning school nurses in our back to school PD thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you for your message Sheryl! Love that you are sharing with your team!

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