School nurses don't spend a lot of time with individual students, but their job is incredibly valuable if a school is lucky enough to have a nurse on staff. The school nurse often has a tiny office where students visit when they injure themselves or aren't feeling well. Stocking and decorating your nursing office will help children feel more comfortable and welcome, and it will also give you a visually appealing place to carry out your duties.
Stocking a School Nurse Office
It's easier to do your job when you have a well-stocked nursing office where everything has a place and everything is well organized. For example, if a student bonks his head and comes to your office, you'll want your ice packs to be handy. Keep plenty of adhesive bandages, gauze and tape on hand. If students have written and documented medication plans, you might also keep certain prescription medicines in your office, as well. These must be provided by parents who have authorized the school nurse to administer them. If you work with older elementary, middle and high school students, keep feminine hygiene products on hand. Stock your office with brochures for students and parents about nutrition, weight and other health topics. Many government and state organizations provide these brochures for free.
Ways to Make Students Comfortable
Many students, especially younger ones, don't feel comfortable visiting the nurse's office, but you can help them feel more at ease by making your office an inviting space. Play soft music, for example, which will help make your office a pleasant place for yourself. Use kid-friendly pillowcases on your resting cot so children have a cozy spot to rest if they aren't feeling well. Remove a ceiling tile and staple a poster to it before replacing it. (See Reference 1 Page 1) This will give students something entertaining to look at while they're resting. Hang up any artwork the students create for you, too, because this help create a welcoming place that kids are comfortable visiting.
Activities for Students Who Visit the Nurse
Keeping children in your office entertained is key because it encourages them to relax, but it also keeps your office a quiet, restful place. Keep health and nutrition-related coloring pages in your office, such as pictures of healthy foods, along with crayons or markers. Sick children who are waiting for mom or dad to pick them up might feel like coloring a picture while they wait. Books are another good tool. Children can either read to themselves or cozy up and listen to you read them a story. Pass out stickers, too.
School Nurse Office Decorating Ideas
Use your office walls as a way to pass on health- and nutrition-related topics to students. Hang a few posters about health and wellness on your walls. Posters that reminds students to brush their teeth twice a day or eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day are good options. Attach a bulletin board to your wall and rotate the items you hang on it. Choose themes that relate to your student population. For example, high school students might benefit from a bulletin board about sexual health, sexually transmitted disease prevention or pregnancy prevention. A middle school might benefit from information about bullying. Keep fresh flowers, inspirational quotes, an aquarium or seasonal decorations in your office to personalize it.
- Pennsylvania State Education Association: Self Care at School: 119 Ways that School Nurses Nurture Themselves on the Job
- National Association of School Nurses: School Nurses in Action
- National Association of School Nurses: School Wellness Policies
- Pediatrics: Guidelines for the Administration of Medication in School
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.