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The Richest School Nurse in the Whole-Wide World

My second year of being a school nurse is coming to an end. It’s field day at our elementary school and after today, we only have 4 more school days left. Like last year, I kinda don’t want the year to end. There’s the day-to-day routine that is ironically never “routine.” My ice chest is packed with ice packs, my emergency bag is packed with Band-Aids, Epi-Pens, emergency inhalers and a few quarters for children who don’t have the fifty cents for a pop corn. I am ready for my second field day as a school nurse.

The sun is shining and the temperatures are warming up. It’s going to be a wonderfully sunny day. Our morning starts with the younger children out and about going from station-to-station playing and laughing.  Other than a 5th grader with a staple in her finger who found me out on the playground, the morning has gone pretty nicely. The principle even let me play a bit of my music on the big speaker (I thought it was cool anyway).

Soon (too soon for many) their field day is over and it’s time for a bit of lunch. The older children are excited and getting ready for their afternoon. In my office, I grab a bite (yes Nurse Sharon, I eat in my office).

As a nurse, hearing the word “stat” seeds an emotion of urgency. Kinda like hearing someone shout “fire” or “They got a late delivery of Turbo Man at Toy Works!” “Stat” is used as a directive to medical personnel during in an emergency situation. “Stat” means NOW! Not after you take another sip of your diet soda either. It’s like the ring of a doorbell to your Labrador. “Stat” is from the Latin word statim, which means “instantly” or “immediately.”

“Office! We need Nurse Kevin on the playground stat. Tell him to run.” That’s what I heard over the walkies. And run I did. My 47-year-old legs moving 190 pounds (less an AED and a first aid bag) down the hall toward the playground doors. I get to the door and realize that there are 260 (give or take) children and teachers shouting out, “Nurse Kevin! Nurse Kevin! Nurse Kevin!” It’s at this point where I realize that there was no emergency. I would have known what to do in that case. Broke arm, tetherball to the head, seizure, and spinner-induced vomiting after lunch were situations where I know just what to do. Hearing all these people call my name and holding up a sign that says, “Gators Love Nurse Kevin”…well… that’s something I have never prepared for. I didn’t know what to do. I walked out there on the playground feeling relieved that there was no emergency. I walked toward the children who were cheering me as if I were a rock star being called out for one more song as an encore. I walked over to these children who appreciated me way more than I will ever deserve.

There are a few events in a person’s life that are so remarkable and special from which we walk away changed forever. There was no application to fill out for this kind of recognition. There’s no “goal” to be met in order to receive this kind of love. It simply was given to me. Thinking back, I should have taken the microphone and told the kids how much they all mean to me. I should have jumped up and down and maybe twisted about. Maybe I did just what I was supposed to do, walk over to the large group and take in all the emotion. Yea and na. Who knows?

A 5th grade graduate had a speech ready for me and as he read, I stood there hearing what he had to say and still feeling like this all couldn’t be for me. Who was I to get this kind of recognition?

This was one of my happiest moment and one of many moments that confirms the decision I made so many months back. Being a school nurse is pretty dog-on cool. Taking care of these specific children has been pretty dog-on awesome. I’m going to miss 90 of them as they move to middle school, but I’ll gain that many more as they move from pre-school and other schools to our wonderful little school. Thank yawl…all yawl…who believe I deserve so much appreciation. My heart is warm with gratitude and love for you all. I almost can’t wait for the next school year to start (with “almost” being a very key word in that statement). Have an awesome summer.

Nurse Kevin

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