My biggest challenge is educating parents. My school serves an underprivileged population, and that's putting a pretty word on it. Our families are quite impoverished and their lives have all the trappings of poverty--poor nutrition, poor access to medical & dental care,prostitution, gangs, guns & drugs, and child abuse. It is not uncommon for the parents to be very young and poorly educated, some as young as 17! Our kids do not come from a culture of education, usually. Most of them have only rarely left the county they live in. They don't own books or craft materials. They don't go to museums or concerts. They don't have music lessons or scouting expeditions. They can't play outside because of the violence and drug dealers. So all that adds up to children who are set up to fail in life.
On the other hand, my greatest reward is the flip side of that coin. When I make a difference, i make a BIG difference. For many of my kids, i am their only healthcare provider so i take that job seriously. I try hard to educate parents on making good healthcare decisions. Even simple things like, how to care for a vomiting child, a child with a fever, or pinkeye. Parents often look to me for guidance because they simply don't. know what to do.
A school nurse has to have excellent assessment skills. She has to be a careful diplomat. She is part mom, part psychologist, part public health official, part teacher. She has to be able to function independently in a non-healthcare setting where almost nobody knows what she does and may not even respect her profession. She has to be able to fix 90% of the children's woes with little more than ice packs and bandaids. She has to be able to make critical decisions in the face of emergencies. She has to know when to call for back up. Because anything that can happen at home can and will happen at school.