Meet the new school nurse, Ms. Larsen!

Meet Apex High School’s new school nurse Ms. Larsen!

Q: Where are you from?

A: I was born in Virginia, grew up in Maryland, and started working here a number of years ago. Then I moved to Illinois, worked for a few years, and then moved back.

Q: Where did you go to school and what did you study?

A: I went to Harding University, in Arkansas. I studied nursing.

Q: What is your favorite book or book series?

A: That’s like saying ‘who is your favorite child’. I like Pride and Prejudice. I think it’s great. I like Victoria Mysteries by Anne Perry.

Q: What are your pet peeves?

A: People who chew their gum loudly and people who are disrespectful.

Q: What were you like as a student?

A: I suppose I was pretty goofy back then. I did have good grades. I was on the honor roll, but I had to study really hard to do that.

Q: Why did you decide to become a school nurse?

A: You can’t beat the hours. It’s Monday through Friday, don’t work nights and weekends. I like working with kids, and I’m really happy to be placed at a high school because I like working with high school kids. It’s a different dynamic.

Q: How many schools do you work with?

A: I have two; I have this one and an elementary school

Q: How many student come to the health room on a typical day?

A: I honestly don’t know the answer to that because the front office people, they see those folks because there is not a school nurse at school every day. I’m only here Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They are trained to handle those things. I do other things.

Q: What do you do?

A:  We do hands on care for emergencies. For example, if someone was having trouble with their breathing or they broke a leg, then I would step in. Sometimes the front office will refer someone to me if it is above what they can handle. I also identify and follow up with students who are referred with life threatening conditions. Say a student was diagnosed with diabetes and went into the hospital, then I would get a referral to help them manage their condition at school. Asthma, allergies, things like that. I have to train the staff to handle medical things like giving medications we have at school.  I have to develop emergency action plans for students who have severed allergies or diabetes or different kinds of things. I have to distribute them to the staff. Primary things I have to do is make sure staff know which students in their class have these conditions and how they would handle them. We do consults with students for non-acute things. Also for students who are pregnant and need help or resources. She could come to me. Any kind of medical condition. I do case management, checking in with students periodically to see if they need any help managing their condition. I could go on.

There’s a lot, and most people don’t realize that because they think we work in the health room. In Wake County that isn’t the case.

Q: How are you liking Apex High so far?

A: I love it; it’s great here. It’s a great atmosphere. I love working with high school students.

Q: What is the most interesting story you have about working as a school nurse?

A: I’m trying to think of something I can tell you that doesn’t violate a FERPA (Family Education rights and privacy act) code. I can’t speak specifically, but sometimes we see students with a certain condition, and we refer them to a doctor, and they never knew they had a specific problem.

Q: If you weren’t a school nurse, what do you think you would be doing?

A: I’d retire, do volunteer work.

Q: What is your top advice for chronically ill students?

A: Take your illness seriously. Follow your doctor’s orders. Don’t be slack about it. Take care of yourself. If you have medications that you are supposed to take daily, take them. If you have a diet you should follow, follow it. That sort of thing. Take care of yourself because you are going to be in this body for a while, so you should take care of it.

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