In light of National School Nurse Day May 8, Barrington 220 nursing supervisor Eva Detloff told Barrington Suburban Life reporter Tarah Thorne more about her career. Detloff has been a district employee for 14 years.
Thorne: What are your primary duties?
Detloff: School nurses are a vital link for the health needs of children. In general, I facilitate the development and administration of school nursing services through health education and promotion, nutritional services, a healthy school environment, family and community partnerships, professional development, staff evaluations, data collection and analysis, committees, keeping abreast of legal issues and laws, enforcing communicable disease prevention, student advocacy and more.
Thorne: What led you to the nursing career? What past experience do you have?
Detloff: I am a service-oriented person and enjoy caring for others. My decision to specialize in pediatric nursing was made while I worked weekends as a certifed nursing assistant in the intensive care unit at Children’s Memorial Hospital. My nursing experiences have focused on children in multiple settings such as hospitals, pediatrician’s office, home health and schools. I have been a nurse for over 25 years and hold a Master’s degree in education administration, a professional educator Llcense in certified school nursing, and am nationally certified as a school nurse. I additionally hold a Bachelors degree of science in nursing
Thorne: How has the nursing profession changed since you began? What has improved within the school district?
Detloff: School nursing is a specialty practice that requires advanced training, focused preparation and ongoing continuing education. We deliver multi-faceted evidence-based nursing interventions to our students and the school community.
A common misconception is that school nurses deliver first aid all day long. That is one of our many important roles. However, we also focus on health promotion, illness and injury prevention, early identification and referral for abnormal findings, supporting and establishing independence with chronic disease management, responding to emergency situations and developing plans for potential emergencies. Nursing interventions lead to better health and education outcomes for
Thorne: Describe a day in your shoes.
Detloff: Each day begins with a set plan and then it unfolds as to what really happens. I wear many hats and change them frequently throughout the day. Student’s health and safety needs always come first. I may have plans to attend district or student meetings only to be called away for emerging issues in any of our schools.
Also, my day includes serving as a resource and support person for all district nurses, trainings, developing online registration materials, planning professional staff development, managing budget and supplies, complying with state mandates, and corresponding with staff and our community,
Thorne: What’s most rewarding with your career? Most challenging?
Detloff: Most rewarding has been assisting and assuring that all students have full access to their education and reach their full potential. It becomes challenging with more children are coming to school with, or develop during their educational experience, a chronic health condition. They often require direct services from our nurses to maintain their health and safety, learn how to manage their conditions, and maximize their access to their education..Thorne: When do you find students to be most ill? Any specific time of the year?
Detloff: As expected, cold and flu season shows a rise in illness related absences in Barrington 220. In advance, our nurses teach our students and staff to cover their cough, clean their hands, and contain their Illness by staying home. Our disease surveillance activities have shown that our district’s overall absenteeism rates and illness due to absence rates are lower than other schools in Lake County, during the same time of the year.
Thorne: Do you have children yourself? How do you prevent illness in your home?
Detloff: I have three adult aged children. They rarely missed school due to illness. I believe that healthy nutrition, daily physical activity, adequate sleep, routine physical examinations and immunizations, balancing activity time with down time, and spirituality contribute to their ongoing health.
Thorne: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Detloff: I enjoy hiking and gardening.
Thorne: How do you plan to spend your summer break?
Detloff: I have an exciting summer planned which includes my son’s wedding to a lovely young lady I cannot wait have call me “mom,” and a trip to Europe.
Thorne: What are some of your most commonly used health tips for students?
Detloff: Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Drink water every day. Eat fruits and vegetables. Play hard and get a good night’s rest. Smile.
Thorne: How have your patients and your fellow Barrington 220 staff members influenced your life?
Detloff: It’s humbling to witness our students as they grow physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. That happens successfully through the caring, kindness, and expertise of our school staff, parents, families, and the extended school community.
Thorne: What are your plans for the future?
Detloff: Advocating for students health needs at the state and federal levels are ongoing activities of mine. I believe that every child deserves a school nurse and that “healthy students learn better,” as stated by the National Association of School Nurses.