At Morehouse Junior High School, a Morehouse Community Medical Center school-based health center employs a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse to meet the health care needs of students at the school.
Jacquie Sneed has worked at the center for two-years and has been a licensed practical nurse for 15. When asked to offer advice about careers in nursing or what makes a good nurse, Sneed reflected on the need for a caring personality.
"It really is the greatest job ever," Sneed said. "If it comes natural for you to take care of others, if you have that trait, then you can really know when you're young that [nursing] is for you."
Sneed also believes that working at a school-based health center brings with it unique rewards.
"There is a difference when [students] have to deal with teachers and school administrators," said Sneed, "and when they come to us. They know that whatever it is, we can help take care of it." "It's really rewarding because we get a chance to catch things with kids because we see them day-to-day with a lot of one-on-one time. We have direct access to help them."
According to Sneed, this access can help the nurses catch changes in blood sugar or iron levels and notice potential health problems sooner.
Sharon Ray, the school-based health center coordinator, has been a registered nurse for 22-years, with MCMC for five-years and at the school-based center for four of those and also believes nurses have unique characteristics. "You have to be a dedicated and caring person to be a nurse," Ray said. "It is so rewarding. I've worked in clinics, surgery, recovery rooms and at the school center. All aspects are very rewarding."
When asked about working at the school level, Ray elaborated on how the center extends services to more children. "You are able to see kids who may not have transportation to the doctor's office," said Ray.
According to Ray, the school-based center can do check-ups, catch kids up on immunizations during school hours and dispense over-the-counter medications as long as parents sign a consent form.
"A school nurse can't give out Tylenol," Ray said. "With a school-based health center, students can see a nurse practitioner with prescriptive authority. We're here, can treat them and send them back to class if they're not contagious."
A new school-based health center will be opening on the Bastrop High School campus for the 2014 to 2015 school year. Note: Despite their location, the school-based health centers are not affiliated with the Morehouse Parish School Board and are ran strictly by Morehouse Community Medical Centers.