The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Health and Wellness 2011

February 19, 2011

Times are changing

Nurse: Students today face more complex medical issues

ENID — Life as a school nurse isn’t what Joanie McIntyre pictured when she started the job.

“It isn’t Band-Aids and boo-boos,” McIntyre said. “It’s a lot more comprehensive than I imagined.”

Throughout her years as a school nurse, McIntyre has seen a lot of change, both in her duties and in the health of students.

“What I’ve seen in the last 16 years is that more children in our schools have complex medical issues,” McIntyre said. “When I started, we didn’t have children in our schools with diabetes.”

Because school nurses support the educational process, their jobs involve teaching children about healthy choices and seeing to their medical needs so they are able to learn.

When a child has diabetes, for example, more is involved than just making sure they get their insulin. Their glucose level has to be monitored throughout the day because if it is too high or low, they don’t feel or think well.

Another fairly common disease among students is asthma, McIntyre said.

“I’ve taken more than one child to the emergency room for breathing treatments,” McIntyre said.

She writes medical plans for children suffering from chronic diseases so teachers know when to call the nurse, when to call the parent and when to call 911.

“I want teachers to teach,” McIntyre said. “I don’t want them to deal with some of these scary medical issues. I’m so glad we can take care of these other issues so they can spend their time teaching. We work together for the academic well-being of the child. I make sure they are healthy and safe and they make sure they are learning.”

Students’ long-term health is another focal point for area school nurses, McIntyre said. In recent years, child health in Oklahoma has ranked low in comparison to other states.

“Over 30 percent of our school population right now is overweight,” McIntyre said. “That’s local. I can track it on my computer.”

Enid Public Schools has put together an “Eat Smart” committee to address that concern. The physical education department is working with students on what they can do to be more active.

The school system tries to steer families to the Sooner Care program when appropriate.

Nevertheless, school nurses sometimes are the only access to medical care for some students.

“There are so many children without a medical home,” McIntyre said.

She said children come to her and say, “I don’t feel well. My mom told me to come see you.”

National Association of School Nurses recommends one school nurse for every 750 students. EPS doesn’t have enough nurses to meet that guideline. On the other, McIntyre points out, some school districts don’t have nurses at all.

Text Only
Health and Wellness 2011
  • Cover.jpg Health and Wellness 2011

    One of the attributes of living in Enid and Northwest Oklahoma is the abundant pride residents have in its people, land and businesses. The 2011 News & Eagle Progress edition highlights these areas and pays tribute to all of those who make our region shine 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

    February 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • Jeff_Tarrant_Mug_BV.jpg Local hospitals watch reform

    Personnel with St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and Integris Bass Baptist Health Center are examining carefully how major federal health care legislation will have an impact in coming years.

    February 19, 2011 2 Photos

  • Integris_Heart_1_BH.jpg Their heart’s in health care

    Construction for the 16,000-square-foot Integris Heart and Vascular Institute of Northwest Oklahoma, across from the hospital’s main campus at 600 S. Monroe, has been ongoing since last year, and hospital personnel are getting anxious to open the building for patients. The center is slated to open in March.

    February 19, 2011 2 Photos

  • StMarys_2_BV.jpg Don’t want to keep them waiting

    "They don’t come here to be registered. They come here to have their blood drawn or whatever.” — Steven Moore, financial liaison, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center

    February 19, 2011 2 Photos

  • gym_TRX_1_BH.jpg Brand new TRX

    TRX is a portable leveraged bodyweight machine that allows clients to do hundreds of exercises to build power, strength, flexibility, balance and mobility and prevent injuries.

    February 19, 2011 3 Photos

  • School_Nurse_BH.jpg Times are changing

    "It isn’t Band-Aids and boo-boos. It’s a lot more comprehensive than I imagined.” — Joanie McIntyre, school nurse, Enid Public Schools

    February 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • Hospices.jpg Giving up? They’re just getting started

    "People think hospice is giving up, but that isn’t what it is." — Kristi Browne, Ross Health Care

    February 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • GraceCareCompanionServices_BV.jpg There’s no place like home

    The home health field is a way for a number of patients to receive the care they need while staying home.

    February 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • YFS_Buckley_Randolph_BH.jpg Forming a mental picture

    Osborne said one of the most important things someone can learn in counseling is how to make the right choices — decisions “that will benefit themselves and their families” — in any situation.

    February 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • Y_Cardio_2_BH.jpg Fitting right in

    Kim Boeckman, senior program director at Denny Price Family YMCA, said a good cardiovascular workout can improve overall health.

    February 19, 2011 2 Photos