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National Nurses Week: Q&A with Nurse Norris

May 09, 2024

In celebration of National Nurses Week (National School Nurse Day May 8), Inside Scoop visited Patuxent Elementary to get the “scoop” on school nursing. We interviewed Cynthia Norris, a true veteran school nurse of 27 years, who is serving students where her own children once attended school. 

Q: What is the best part of your job? 

A: The best part of being a school nurse is the autonomy, interacting with the students (they keep me young and say some of the funniest things) and observing students grow as they learn to manage their health concerns.

Q: What drew you to be a school nurse? 

A: Prior to becoming a school nurse, my background was in NICU, Pediatric Rehab and Pediatric Home Care. Working in school nursing provided me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge and expertise in working with the pediatric population.

Q: What does a typical day look like? 

A: A typical day can change from moment to moment! However, everyday may consist of student care, medication administration, health room management, parent and staff communications and participating in 504/IEP meetings

Q: What is the funniest thing that ever happened on the job? 

A: Several years ago we had a skate mobile at the school and I was a nurse on wheels for a few hours. The kids thought it was so  funny to see me on skates and were surprised that I could really skate! 

Q: What is your biggest challenge at work? 

A: I would say trying to balance and multitasking during my work day. It’s a balance to provide care to the students, complete documentation, assist with other duties as assigned and manage the unexpected.

Q: What do you feel is the biggest misconception about school nurses? 

A: I feel the biggest misconception is all we do is hand out band aids, ice and send students home. When the reality is we provide case management services, emergency care, medication management, collaborate with outside medical providers and provide resources to assist students, staff and families – just to name a few. 

Q: What personal strengths are most important for success as a school nurse? 

A: The strengths I found helpful are strong assessment skills, having good communication skills, flexibility, self confidence and a sense of humor.

Q: What advice would you give someone entering this career? 

A: Give yourself time and grace to learn your new role as a school nurse. My personal motto is “The only consistency is the inconsistency.” This motto prevents me from becoming rigid in my expectations. Having this mind set allows me to navigate school nursing with a positive attitude.

Q: What do you want families to know and how can they support their child’s health at school? 

A: Know that we are here to help and work with you to get the resources your child needs. Please keep your contact info current in case of an emergency, make sure your child is up-to-date on immunizations and let us know if there are any important changes in your child’s health history.