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School Nurses' New Roles Reflect Complex Health Needs Of State's Students

Amy Widderich is a woman in near constant motion. Whether it’s walking a queasy child from a classroom, taking a temperature or dispensing hugs and encouragement to anxious kids, Widderich, the school nurse at Grove Park Elementary School in Burlington, rarely gets to complete a sentence before she’s interrupted by a child, or a teacher, or one of the other staff at the school. Sure enough, once kids start swarming into the building, a handful of them make their way into the health room next to the principal’s office. By 7:40 a.m. there’s one child with autism sitting on the daybed eating breakfast, another arrives complaining of a tummy ache, all the while a teacher bends Widderich’s ear about a student whose psychiatric medicine seems to be making him more agitated.

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Rose Hoban | EdNC