Jennifer Marsh

A Day in the Life of Jennifer Marsh, BSN, RN

May 11, 2022

By: Teresa DuChateau

Jennifer Marsh has been a registered nurse for the past six years but just recently entered the profession of school nursing, having started near the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Jennifer works with a team of school nurses in the School District of Superior who together oversee the care of just over 4,000 students in eight school buildings. In addition to having a Coordinator of Health Services position, the district is fortunate to have six full-time registered nurses, two full-time licensed practical nurses (LPN), and two full-time certified medical assistants. 

School nurse, Health Services Coordinator, and Medical Assistant meeting in nurse's office

Jennifer meets with Brynn Larabee, Coordinator of Health Services and Nina Derick, Certified Medical Assistant to discuss a student's health plan.  Brynn supervises a team of 10, which consists of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified medical assistants. 

As Jennifer nears the end of her second year as a school nurse, she shares that there were some aspects of the role that surprised her which she discussed in this interview clip. 

School nurse assessing a student while medical assistant talking on the phone

The day I shadowed Jennifer was the first day back to school after Spring Break. The middle school health room was busy from the moment that school started, with both Nina and Jennifer being pulled away to assess a student during our interview. The connections that Jennifer and Nina have made with students was obvious as a number of students made sure to stop by just to say hello and give a high-five as they had not seen them for the past week. In this photo, Jennifer and Nina work as a team to manage the influx of students in their office. As Jennifer tends to one student, Nina calls a parent while two students wait to be seen.
Throughout the day, Jennifer and Nina worked in partnership, managing the numerous students who came to the health room to receive their daily medication. Although medication administration may seem like a relatively easy nursing intervention, it requires significant care coordination between the student, parent, healthcare provider, and school. In addition, school nurses take a key role in the development and review of policies, procedures, and protocols related to medication administration.

School nurse administering medication to student
Medical assistant administering medication to student

An important role of the school nursing staff is to establish protocols that assist them in determining when a student should stay in school versus when they need to be sent home. After listening to the student's health concerns and taking the student's temperature, Nina determines that this student needs to be sent home for the day and calls to update the child's parent. 

Medical assistant talking on the phone with student near her desk
The photos below show Jennifer meeting with a student to calculate his lunch carbohydrate count before determining and administering the appropriate insulin dose via insulin pen. The management of diabetes in schools has changed significantly over the decades. Many children with diabetes will be prescribed insulin pens after their initial diagnosis. As a child's diabetes progresses and stabilizes, many times new technologies- such as continuous glucose monitoring systems and insulin pumps- are prescribed by the healthcare provider. The school nurse is constantly educating themselves about these new technologies in addition to assisting students and families with the use and management of such technologies. 

School nurse assisting student in determining number of carbohydrates in his lunch
School nurse administering insulin to student
Medical assistant providing first aid

Although minor injuries are not as common in a middle school as they are in an elementary school, this student stopped by to have Nina look at a scraped knee that had happened a couple days prior. Nina provides some TLC and first aid. 

School nurse and medical assistant standing beside bulletin board
Jennifer and Nina were grateful that the decreasing cases of COVID allowed them to focus some of their energy on student education, including the bulletin board that they developed outside their office. 

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