I recently sat down with our school’s nurse, Nicole Murphy, an amazing new addition to Kimes Elementary School in Streator. She is an important part of students' lives, so I thought you’d like to get to know her better.

Q. Why did you want to be a school nurse?

A. I'd be lying if I didn't say to get the summers, holidays and weekends off, so obviously the hours were definitely an attention-grabber. I have also always loved working with kids, especially younger kids. So when it was Kimes with the opening, I felt the need to give it a shot.

Q. What other jobs have you done as a nurse?

A. I have worked on a general med/surgery floor caring for patients with every ailment imaginable as well as post-op surgical patients. I then went on to work in the operating room of the surgery department and filled in on the pre-op side of the surgery department. Pre-op is where surgical patients are admitted and prepared for surgery. I recently started working part time at a nursing home.

Q. What are your duties as a school nurse?

A. I am responsible for checking medical requirements such as current physicals, immunizations, lead test completion, vision and dental screenings and allergies all at the beginning of the year or the start for any new student. Once the year begins, my days are unpredictable. They consist of upset bellies, headaches, temperature checks, ear checks, teeth lost, hair checks, skin blemish consultations, Band-Aid applications, administration of insulin and medication administration. Ice packs are handed out like candy on Halloween, but they are magical when it comes to eliminating the pain. Other staff consult with me regarding students who may have an allergy or other medical or social concern. I regularly make and receive phone calls to and from parents about the care of their child. Often, I provide education to parents on the importance of hygiene as well as steps to eliminate lice or other issues. Communication is vital in my duty as a school nurse.

Q. What is your favorite part of being a nurse?

A. There are so many aspects to answer this question. Of course making others feel better and seeing it happen is always rewarding. This is the best part of being a nurse in general. Specifically, being a school nurse, my favorite part is making a difference in the lives of less fortunate children. We have many young students who may not have the best home life. When I walk into my office each morning and have on average five to six kids waiting for a hug to start their day, it makes my heart grow. I love to be able to bring a smile to all the littles and show them how important they are. It has been a blessing to know I am playing a part in helping them realize that education can be fun and is a vital part of life. I want them all to know they can do anything possible if they work hard.

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