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Nurse Notes

Barbara-HealyBarbara Healy, RN

School Nurse
Forest Hill Elementary School
West Palm Beach, FL

What are your tips for parents before the start of school?

Parents should start ahead of time and establish a back-to-school routine for their children’s meals and bedtime. Make sure your child eats breakfast in the morning, either at home or at school. A hungry child will not perform as well at school.

Avoid the morning rush by preparing the night before; set aside clothing for the next day and place necessary items and paperwork in your child’s backpack. If your child wears glasses, make sure he or she brings them to school.

Check the school menu each week to plan for lunches; the menu is available on the School District’s website. See the School Nurse for any medical concerns you have and make sure that correct, updated contact information is on file.

What should parents do if their children need special medical care at school?

Bring in a note from your child’s doctor explaining the medical condition, restrictions at school if applicable, and/or what procedures the School Nurse must follow and for how long. If your child has food allergies, bring the School Nurse documentation from the physician and also notify the cafeteria manager and teacher(s)

If medication is to be administered at school, you must provide the School Nurse with a signed and completed physician authorization form for each medication; the doctors’ offices have this form. The medication must be in a container with the pharmacy label on it. Over-the-counter drugs such as Tylenol or cough medicine also require a completed physician authorization form. The medicine must be in its original container with the child’s name on it.

You must bring all medication to the School Nurse; do not send it in with your student. Inform the School Nurse if there are any changes in your child’s treatment plan and be sure to bring in documentation from the doctor.

Teri Johnson-WalczakTeri Johnson-Walczak, RN

School Nurse
Village Academy
Delray Beach, FL

What are your tips for parents before the start of school?

Parents are encouraged to begin a back-to-school sleeping and meal schedule for their children a week or two before school starts. We know that when students get enough sleep and eat well, they feel better, which enhances their ability to learn in school.

It's also helpful if parents review the school lunch and breakfast menus with their children, especially if the youngsters are picky eaters or have special dietary needs. Our public schools offer a variety of healthy, nutritious choices but on some days your child may prefer or need a packed lunch from home.

Parents should try to remember that starting a new school year for a youngster is like starting a new job for an adult. They are excited and stressed at the same time. Indigestion and tension headaches are common throughout each age group; students benefit from lots of support, encouragement and interest from their loved ones!

I try to encourage parents of my youngest students to put an extra set of school clothes in their backpack in case they need it as spills can happen. If the students are prepared with extra clothes, they can quickly get back to learning and having fun!

What should parents do if their children need special medical care at school?

If your child has special medical needs, you should plan on visiting with and speaking to your School Nurse before the first day of class. Parents must bring the School Nurse completed and signed physician authorization forms before any medication or medical treatments can be provided to the student in school.

Preparation before school starts makes for an easier first day for your child and provides peace of mind to you! Almost all students visit the health room at some point so it is a great idea to meet your School Nurse. We love taking care of the students and enjoy meeting their families.

It is also very important to keep your contact information current and to have a plan in place in case your child does get sick on campus during the school day. We know parents are often working during school hours and it can be difficult leaving work when your child has to be picked up early from school.

Penny-HelgertPenny Helgert, RN

School Nurse
Allamanda Elementary School
Palm Beach Gardens, FL

What are your tips for parents before the start of school?

Parents of elementary school children can prepare for school by reviewing basic information and skills. It is helpful for younger children to memorize names and important phone numbers.

Parents should formulate a plan before school starts so they know how to best respond should their child need to be dismissed from school early due to illness. For working parents, having to pick up their child from school before dismissal often presents a challenge and it’s helpful if parents know in advance that arrangements are in place for a relative or friend to assist if necessary.

Parents should also be sure to notify their child’s school of any updated emergency contact information as this information often changes over the summer. A week before the start of school, parents may want to practice a new schedule so their children are more acclimated to going to bed and waking up earlier.

What should parents do if their children need special medical care at school?

It’s important that parents with children who have medical conditions meet with the School Nurse prior to the start of school. Parents can also call the School Nurse during school hours to arrange a time to meet to discuss their child’s health needs.

It is important for parents of children who will be taking a daily or as-needed medication in school to bring the School Nurse a completed and signed physician’s authorization form. In addition, parents will also need to bring to the School Nurse the medication that the physician has prescribed in a labeled container along with a recent photo of their child.

School Nurses cannot dispense any medication, even if it’s available over-the-counter, unless it is prescribed by the student’s physician.

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