Christin Strong

A Day in the Life of Christin Strong, BSN, RN-BC, CGRN

 May 11, 2022

 By: Teresa DuChateau

Christin Strong has been a registered nurse for 17 years and has practiced as a school nurse for the past four years. She is the district nurse for the McFarland School District. Christin oversees the health of slightly over 2,300 students in four schools and supervises four full-time health aides, one part-time nurse, and two regular substitute nurses. 
School  nurse talking on the telephone

A recurring theme, throughout Christin's interview, was the importance of relationships. In this interview clip she shares how relationships with her colleagues helped her to get through the challenging times. 

Christin's main office, which she shares with Susan Borchardt, a certified medical assistant, is located at the McFarland High School. Their strong partnership was evident as I spent the day with them. Of this photo, Christin states, "This definitely represents the high points in the health office. The team is supportive, and we can laugh (and cry) together without any judgment. Sometimes things are just so ridiculous that you can't do anything else but laugh."

School nurse talking with health aide in office

As in many high school nurse's offices, a number of students stopped by to receive an over-the-counter medication to help alleviate a minor pain, such as a headache. Christin shared that the district's medical advisor has signed a handful of standing orders for over-the-counter medications. These standing orders, along with parental approval, allow the health staff to administer acetaminophen and ibuprofen which, many times, alleviates the student's pain and allows them to remain in school. 

School nurse administers over-the-counter medication to student
Health assistant looking in desk drawer for medication

COVID mitigation and prevention strategies required Christin to make adjustments to her nursing practice and to the flow of the health room, as she shared in this interview clip.

Medical assistant, Susan, performs a rapid COVID test on a student, who happens to also be her son. The district began providing rapid COVID testing in December 2020 through a partnership with Exact Sciences, through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Fitchburg Family Pharmacy. The district was one of the pilot districts that also offered PCR COVID testing which started in May 2021. The testing is offered at every school, and is available to all students and staff, and any family member of a student or staff member.

Medical assistant swabs a students nose for COVID test
School nurse examining student's inner ear with otoscope

Although school nurses do not make medical diagnoses, they frequently assess student's health complaints to determine if further evaluation is warranted. Christin examines a student's inner ear with an otoscope to see if there are any signs of an ear infection. 

School nurses work with students, families, and healthcare providers to identify student health goals related to managing their chronic health condition. The student in these photos has extra needs and Christin is helping her learn to count insulin units and dial the insulin pen to the correct dose. After the student dials her insulin pen, she picks the spot for her injection. Christin and the student count to ten together while the insulin is injected.

Student is holding insulin pen adjusting dose

School nurse administering insulin via pen

Sign stating You are Never Alone on wall in health room

Prior to COVID, the nurse's office was frequently utilized as a "Take a Break" space for students. COVID mitigation and prevention measures, such as social distancing, along with the significant change in Christin's responsibilities related to managing the pandemic meant Christin was often unable to provide mental health services to students. Christin is grateful that she has the time and energy to reconnect with students this school year. 

One of the bright spots of the pandemic is that Christin's relationships with the leadership at the high school have grown closer. Here she meets with Associate Principal, Sarah Busalacchi and Astra, a guide dog in training who is being trained by one of the district staff. Christin states, "Our assistant principals work closely with the health office to manage absences related to illness, as well as for safety resources."

School nurse talks with assistant principal

Thoughts on project

For questions regarding A Day in the Life: A Photo Essay of the Wisconsin School Nurses and the COVID-19 Pandemic, please contact the Project Director, Teresa DuChateau, at