Ever heard of the saying, "I get by with a little help from my friends"? For students these days, that saying couldn't be more true. As they wander a hectic maze of mentally and physically draining activities - including early morning classes, after-school sports practices, peer pressure, and increasing chronic illness - it's no wonder why teens and children always seem tired. It's because they are! But luckily, they get by with a little help from a few unconventional friends. And this time of year, we're extra thankful for those friends.
You see, the unconventional friends that I'm talking about aren't childhood best friends or science lab partners (although they're important, too). Instead, the friends that I'm talking about are the school administrators, teachers, coaches, and school nurses who support and encourage students on a daily basis. Without this support team, students might wind up a little lost in their maze of activities, Okay, very lost.
Since students spend over half of their waking hours at school (or all, if they attend a boarding school), the support system there matters. Challenges like personal crises, asthma attacks, and sleep deprivation don't wait for a child to be safe at home. And when challenges like these do arise, school staff come running, ready to save the day.
So this year, we're extra thankful for all the people who put student mental and physical health above all else. We're especially thankful for the school nurses whose duty is to protect and maintain student health - often without recognition. These nurses have a job fit for a superhero, and they do it better than Clark Kent ever could.
So how could we ever adequately say thank you to school nurses for all they do? I recommend a 3-step process this Thanksgiving:
- Step into their shoes. Learn about the increasing demands on school nurses to understand what they face each day.
- Say "thank you." Find a creative way to say thank you to these dedicated school staff members.
- Celebrate their hard work. Nominate your school nurse for a local award or grant, like the ASHE Award (nominations open early 2015), to celebrate their dedication with your community.
If all else fails, a big hug and a handwritten card can go a long way in letting school nurses and health staff members know they're appreciated. We hope you take the time to do just that this holiday season.
What other ways have you thanked a school nurse?