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Sick of Missing School: Students Need Nurse on Campus

Graphic by Morgan '15
Graphic by Morgan ’15

While walking down Marlborough’s halls at this time of year, one will inevitably hear students sniffling, coughing, sneezing and unwrapping cough drops, and arrive at class to find half their peers absent. School is an easy place to catch a cold, the flu or any type of sickness because girls are in close quarters throughout the day with their friends, in classes, and attending extracurricular activities; however, Marlborough, does not have a school nurse.

During school hours, Marlborough students often do not receive the attention they might need when they feel under the weather. We at the UltraViolet believe that the School should hire a nurse to care for students during the school day. Other schools throughout the greater Los Angeles area, like Marymount, employ school nurses to focus on sick students, who otherwise may not receive the attention they need.

While some argue that a school nurse would not benefit the student population and would simply add another salary to Marlborough’s payroll, we believe that there are many benefits to having a school nurse. A school nurse would help students get the treatment they need at the start of a cold or flu, which would help keep illnesses from spreading, in turn reducing the number of absences.

Missing a day of school at Marlborough is a tough thing to do; not coming to school causes stress and anxiety among students. We have to email our teachers, get the notes that we missed in class and try to understand the homework without it being explained to us. An on-campus nurse would allow students to seek a professional medical opinion to determine whether or not they are well enough to carry out their day at school without having to sacrifice time or money for a scheduled doctor’s appointment.

Although the School has health teachers and physical education instructors who are certified to help students in need of medical attention, these teachers are busy with their own classes. While we agree it is important to have these emergency responders on campus, they do not replace a full-time nurse; when a student does fall ill or have an accident, other students’ days are disrupted if their teachers have to leave their classes to tend to an ailing girl. They aren’t as easily accessible as a school nurse would be for more common sicknesses. A school nurse’s main focus would be taking care of students who feel an illness coming on or to aid students with minor injuries.

Upper School Office Assistant Laura Morrison said that a majority of sick students decide to come to school for half a day or more because students feel like they are jeopardizing their schoolwork if they miss one or more classes. A school nurse could help alleviate a sick student’s symptoms so as to reduce the chances of spreading illness and to make the student more comfortable as they continue their school day. Rather than miss school to go to the doctor, students would feel more comfortable coming to school and knowing there is a certified nurse on campus who could help them in the event of their sickness worsening; this stabilizing presence could potentially increase attendance numbers or cut back the number of sick days a student takes.

We believe that if the School hired a school nurse, students’ health would improve: more attention would be paid to students’ well-being, and the number of student absences would decrease.