How the Pandemic has Affected the Role of School Nurse

SHS Nurse Lynne Signore shares how her life has changed since COVID-19

By Riley Robitaille, STAFF WRITER

Our school nurse, Lynne Signore, is most often recognized in her colorful scrubs with a very caring smile, despite being arguably the busiest person in our school. If she’s not working with a student, she’s busy on the phone contacting families, or sprinting down the hall with her medical bag to the nearest emergency. Despite the chaos and stress she faces on a regular basis, she continues to bring positive energy and is a true fan-favorite amongst students and staff.

Being a nurse in any school is an important, and sometimes thankless, role, but who knows where we’d be without her. She is extremely important to all of us, and helps keep the school running. Caring for over a thousand students – and sometimes staff – is no easy task, and I think she nails it.

Since the pandemic has struck, her role has become drastically different – and more difficult – in many ways. Some of them being how she’s constantly on call: “I work late almost every day and last year I was working many evenings and weekends until we decided as a district we weren’t on call 24/7 this year.”

Another challenge she’s faced is the difficulties of communicating directly with so many parents, and about very stressful issues. “I have to say the biggest challenge has been getting yelled at by parents,” said Signore. “I have pretty thick skin and wide shoulders and last year I felt like I handled it with patience and grace, but this year I’m drained and tired and my reserves are low. My tolerance levels are much lower this year.” It’s tough being the bearer of bad news, but is required of her. I think many families tend to take out their stress and frustration on her, which isn’t fair.

But it isn’t all bad as lots of parents do appreciate her work. “I’ve had a lot more contact with parents and the general public in the community and that’s been awesome. Some people appreciate my education, knowledge and skill set.”

On another positive note, despite her struggles, she still loves her job. She enjoys meeting new people and students. “I see a wider variety of students which is pretty awesome. I get to meet a lot of students I may not have met before.” Signore adds that, ironically enough, she never went to the school nurse in her four years of high school.

This pandemic has also strengthened her relationship with many local nurses, an incredibly important community in these uncertain times. . “A couple of silver linings are the relationships I’ve developed with the Sanford district nurses as well as the high school nurses at neighboring schools. We have been a source of support and encouragement for one another and I’m so grateful for that.”

While last year may have been rough for Signore, and this year becoming even more difficult, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and she always manages to pull through. I hope she knows how much she matters to our school and how much students and staff (myself included) appreciate her.

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