by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer
School nurse- someone that has a crucial role in the seamless provision of comprehensive health services to children and youth.
Do you remember when you were in elementary school and you fell down and skinned your knee? The teacher would send you to the school nurse and somehow, that band aide that she gave you, suddenly made everything better, didn’t it? Today, I am pretty sure school nurses cover a few more issues than scraped knees.
Meet Joyce Foltz, RN, BSN, MEd currently working as school nurse at Hayes Elementary, Emerson North, Emerson South and Extended Educational Services as providing staff Health Education.
“I also cover other schools in the OKCPS district as needed. I have worked at most of the OKCPS schools during my tenure with the district,” Foltz said.
Foltz graduated from the University Of Tulsa School Of Nursing in 1981. She began her career as an RN in Tulsa, OK, working in the Emergency Department. She has also worked in ICU and Home Health. She began working with the OKCPS in April of 1994 as a School Nurse. Before that, she was Health Occupations Education instructor at Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center in Choctaw. Nurses are required to have a teaching certificate to work as a school nurse.
What gives you the most satisfaction about your job? I ask Foltz. “I enjoy being able to provide care for students and staff, resources for parents and education for students, staff and parents. My favorite thing about being a nurse is when I see a student smile when they leave my clinic, able to return to the classroom, eager to learn.”
Asking Foltz what her biggest asset is with her job, she replied, “My coworkers would say organization and knowledge base. I love learning new things and educating others. I also have a great staff to work with.”
What age kids are the best to work with? I ask Foltz. “Every age group has its attractors and detractors. I enjoy elementary ages the most but feel I can provide education and services to all ages.”
I asked Foltz how she would describe herself. “I love providing education to others, seeing the ‘light bulb’ come on when they learn something new. I try to make my classes fun as well as educational. I am organized; detail oriented and have the ability to work without direct supervision. I am a good listener, trying to find the cause of the headache or stomach ache instead of just taking their temperature and sending them back to class. Sometimes, all they need is someone to listen to them and allow them to work out a solution themselves.”
Asking Foltz what advice she would give someone if they were interested in going into the medical field, she replied, “I would tell them that they need to enjoy math and science as well as working with people at their worst. If someone wants to become a school nurse, they need to be able to work independently in the school setting to provide health care and education primarily to students and they need strong skills in critical thinking, decision-making, communication, individual and classroom education and child advocacy. School nurses must have a minimum for a baccalaureate degree and School Nurse Certification through the State Department of Education. A school nurse needs expertise in pediatric, public health and mental health nursing as well as possessing strong health promotion, assessment and referral skills, The school nurse needs to have knowledge of laws in education and health care that impact children in the school stetting as well as knowledge of the Nurse Practice Act.”
Is there anything that you would change about your job? I ask Foltz. “I would like to see the legislature mandate and fund full time nurses in every school. Some districts have one nurse for the entire district.”
Foltz is married and has two adult children and one grandson. ‘Unfortunately, my children live in Pennsylvania and Michigan.” Her hobbies include reading, traveling and hiking. Foltz is also a CPR instructor and teaches classes through work as well as in the community. She also provides Child Care CPR classes as well. People are welcome to contact her if they are interested in a class. She also teaches the Diabetes Medical Management in school classes, Vision Screening Training, Blood borne Pathogens and Medication Administration in Schools.
Ending with one of Foltz’s favorite quotes dealing with being a school nurse?
I’m a nurse. What’s your super power?