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Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

Nurse Howard works hard to keep students healthy, happy

Photo by McKinley Hacker
Sarah Howard is the school nurse for GRC’s 1,800 students.

From the surface being the school nurse just seems like ice packs and bandages but for GRC Nurse Sarah Howard, the job is easier said than done. There’s much more behind the curtain than you might perceive, and Nurse Howard never knows what a day will bring.

Above all, Howard’s priority is keeping her students happy and healthy. Being a bedside nurse and working in the ICU and ER for years prior to arriving at GRC, she never got to see the side of her patients she is able to see with students.

“My favorite part of being a school nurse is watching the growth and maturity that happens with the students and getting involved in their lives. I want to see these kids walk across that stage,” she says. “Seeing these kids who have come in and struggled, really struggled to be here, and seeing them succeed in being here after we finally figure out what’s the issue.”

The difficulties she faces aren’t all just injuries. “We have to manage food allergies, mental health crises, and everything in between,” she says. “I get a lot of students who just don’t want to be here. It’s really just trying to work with them and try to figure out what the actual root of the issue is.”

Diagnosing students in the school building brings up a lot of questions for Howard. “Are they able to stay in school or do they just need to go home? That’s what we’re used for. I’ve had injuries that I’ve had to send out that I know is not something I can handle here,” she says.

Aside from the hands-on nursing, nurse Howard takes on many more tasks. “We are responsible for making sure immunizations are up to date so it does take a lot of work.” A busy day for her involves more than just seeing patients.

Taking on the job of the school nurse has given her a better understanding into the minds of the teenagers she sees daily. “I do see these mental health struggles every day and it has made me more compassionate and more empathetic to the teenagers and what they’re going through.” says Howard. “I have learned more about the mental health needs and struggles of the youth,” she adds.

It is a difficult but nonetheless rewarding job Nurse Howard takes on every day. “It does get a little crazy in here,” says Howard, “but we all love what we do or we wouldn’t do it.”


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About the Contributor
McKinley Hacker
McKinley Hacker, Multimedia Staff
McKinley is your average 16-year-old teenage girl. She loves coffee more than most things in life, specifically an iced mocha from Daily Grind. McKinley loves listening to music and finding new artists and songs. Some of her favorite artists are Mac DeMarco, Phoebe Bridgers, Gracie Abrams, and of course, Taylor Swift. Her absolute favorite activity is marathons…movie marathons especially Harry Potter. She enjoys going to her youth group on Wednesdays and hanging out with her friends and family in her free time. Her favorite season is fall and she argues that it will forever be the best season. This year, McKinley hopes to meet new people and grow her skills in Smoke Signals.

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    Robyn SmalleyJan 15, 2024 at 6:44 am

    Well written! She certainly deserves accolades, for all she does in such a large school, alone. I’m sure she’s Super Nurse, but wouldn’t it be more fitting to have a least 3 more nurses for such a large building?