School nurses take on several roles

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - The National Association of School Nurses contends that only 45% of the nation's public schools have a full time nurse on site.  Many travel to more than one school in a day.

Cedar Ridge Middle School nurse, Andrea Carmichael, talks about sugar levels and carbs with 13-year-old diabetic Brooke Jones.

Carmichael admits the role of the school nurse has changed over the years.

While they are not allowed to use alcohol or peroxide to clean wounds any more, this job entails more than just placing Band-Aids on skinned knees.

"There is a law in place that there be a school nurse for students with diabetes, that has glucodon as an emergency medicine.  And the nurses are only allowed to give that medicine," said Carmichael.

She's into her third year as a school nurse and takes her job very seriously.

"We have kids that have epilepsy, and they have an emergency medicine, diastase… We have kids with asthma also," Carmichael said.

Each child has specific needs.

But there is also the occasional tummy ache or scrape that needs attention. Sometimes, something simple like a hug can go a long way.

"Just a smile, maybe an ice pack and maybe an explanation of why this is happening," said Carmichael.

For students like Brooke Jones, it's vital that they have someone at school they know can help them in a crisis.

"This is very important because when I'm low I get dizzy," said Jones.

While Brooke is very independent and manages herself very well, it helps her just knowing Carmichael is there.

"I come here when I'm low because I know that she's going to get me up to where I'm supposed to be - get my sugar up, and she's always there if something goes wrong," said Jones.

Jones is very active with soccer and volleyball, and that helps her overall health.

She even helps siblings who are also diabetic.

And Carmichael is there to offer support and even education where good health is concerned.

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