While most DAISY In Training nominees are celebrated for the care they provided for one patient and his/her family, this student nurse, Annie Bates, provided 6”C” Care to 84 children and their families. St. Benedict the Moor is a Catholic school with grades pre-K through 4th grades. It is funded by a private anonymous donor. While books, uniform, tuition, meals and social work services are provided at no charge, these children do not receive school nursing services.
In reflective journaling, Annie remarked, “I was in charge of doing the hearing screenings. To my surprise some children could not hear as well as I thought they could. I wasn’t sure if it was because they weren’t following directions or because they were hard of hearing. It makes me happy to do this for children because some of them are not exposed to healthcare and are not checked for these specific health screenings. All of this is making me fall more in love with being a community nurse! Rather than send a failure note home today, I will re-test them in two weeks. That’s the right thing to do.”
We know that health and educational achievement are inextricably intertwined. From August 26 until September 23, Annie completed oral screenings; height, weight and BMI calculations; vision and hearing screens and re-screens; and blood pressure assessments for 84 children who otherwise would not have had access to these essential services. All measurements were documented on individual student growth charts and health forms and filed in the student’s permanent school records. While doing the oral screenings, Annie commented that “all of the children loved the big toothbrushes and loved brushing Ted’s teeth (the prop doll we used with big teeth and a removable tongue). For the most part, all of the children’s teeth were maintained, but some of them had more decay than I expected to see. How this must influence their ability to concentrate on school and eat nutritious food without pain.”
Letters were sent to parents and appropriate referrals were made for additional services when indicated. Health education about mosquito control and Zika prevention was incorporated into 3rd grade science class. “This was a very informative teaching project and interesting to see how involved the kids were with it. We walked outside of the school and looked for places that would be most prevalent for mosquitos to be found. The kids loved this because this was a mini field trip for them. It was a good day but also sad knowing this would be my last day with the kids. I am definitely going to miss these children!” Coloring books entitled Mosquito Bites Are Bad were provided for the children and informative handouts sent home for parents.
These interventions have positive benefits for all involved. The children come to school healthy and ready to learn, thus reducing barriers to their learning and enhancing the possibility of a productive school career and future adult life. For Annie, the aforementioned interactions during screenings “gave me positive reinforcement. It was fun speaking with all of the children and assisting them with their health goals. They asked a bunch of questions and I felt famous in this role”! She developed skills in self-confidence; competence in an autonomous practice setting; compassion for children who struggled to “get everything right” on the screenings; conscience for an ethical practice by using valid and reliable measuring tools correctly, considering the client’s autonomy and privacy, completing records accurately, and securing justice for access to care; and commitment to completing the job in its entirety in such a short time period. Her comportment was praised by the school principal, Drue Dumas, who opined, “As always, I am impressed with the professionalism of the student nurses that have been assigned to St. Benedict. Annie got so involved when working with students and staff. Annie performed the services efficiently and was extremely organized. She made the students feel safe and comfortable.” St. Benedict the Moor was able to meet its accreditation standards for health and accomplish their mission of “providing an innovative, alternative educational and social environment to promote student success” Finally, the New Orleans community at large is positively impacted by healthy, academically successful young people who will have families, secure jobs and make a contribution to life in this great city.