Charonda Farrington

A Day in the Life of
Charonda Farrington, BS, BSN, RN, NCSN

May 11, 2022

By: Teresa DuChateau

School nurse entering her office

Charonda Farrington has been a registered nurse for the past 17 years and has practiced as a school nurse for 14 years. She is the district nurse for the School District of Brown Deer and is responsible for the health and safety of over 1,700 students in three schools. In Charonda's role as district nurse, she supervises a team of five; a full-time registered nurse, two full-time health aides, and two part-time health aides. 

It was a busy day in the elementary school nurse office the day that I visited Charonda and her team. In addition to coordinating an on-site dental clinic that day, Charonda was meeting with Dr. Tracy Schweitzer, a nursing instructor from Concordia University, to create a plan for their clinical day at the Brown Deer elementary school. Charonda is grateful for this partnership, stating, "
Creating a partnership with Concordia University Nursing Program has been a God-send this year with them completing Vision Screenings, Playground Assessments, and helping to prepare for Project Adam Designation. They have truly been an extension of my practice. Without them, my students would have missed out on vital screenings and educational opportunities."

School nurse talking with a group of nursing students
School nurse talking with nursing instructor and nursing student

Charonda's team has grown significantly over the past two years and that has resulted in a change in how she practices school nursing. She reflected on those practice changes in this interview clip.  

Charonda's advocacy led to the hiring of an additional full-time registered nurse, Amanda Corey, who provides nursing services to the students at the elementary school. Having a nurse onsite full-time creates a safer environment for students with more complex health conditions, such as asthma and diabetes. The photo on the left shows Amanda meeting with a student to review the student's continuous blood glucose monitoring level. The photo on the right shows the student verifying those results with a traditional "fingerstick testing". The results of the tests will be used to calculate the student's lunchtime insulin dose. School nurses continuously work with students to increase their independence in managing their chronic health conditions. 

Student checking blood glucose level on continuous blood glucose monitoring device
Student squeezing finger after finger poke
School nurse administering asthma inhaler to student

One of the most common nursing responsibilities in an elementary school is the administration of scheduled and "as needed" medications. Many students with asthma may require a dose of medication to help minimize their asthma symptoms which then allows them to breathe better and participate in activities such as physical education and recess. 

Charonda, in partnership with the Director of Facilities and Grounds and District Administrator, Dr. Monica Kelsey-Brown, led the district's COVID Taskforce. The team was responsible for creating, reviewing, and updating numerous policies, procedures, and protocols. The school board had recently updated the district's mitigation measures, no longer requiring masks. In this photo Charonda and health aide, Micah Coleman, are creating a video that will be shared with the school community to inform them of the upcoming mask policy changes. Charonda states, "The Brown Deer Board of Education and the District Administrator have been extremely supportive of COVID prevention and mitigation initiatives, policies, and procedures that are aimed at keeping our school community safe and healthy."
School nurse recording video using mobile phone
School nurse meeting with school leaders

School nurses work closely with student support staff and school leaders. Charonda states, "It truly takes a Village. Meeting with Principals, Assistant Principals, and Social Workers is a regular practice. Students have been dealing with mental health issues, more since COVID. We meet as a team to discuss student needs across disciplines weekly." 
(Pictured in photo from left to right: Erica Probst, High School Assistant Principal, Rashonda Spencer, Social Worker, Charonda, and Chvala Brown, High School Principal)

Before I left for the day Charonda wanted to be sure that I met her COVID taskforce partner, Jodi Smeiska, Director of Facilities and Grounds for the district. As Charonda thought back on the past two years of collaboration with Jodi, she stated, "Who would have thought my partner and advocate would be the Director of Buildings and Grounds? It is amazing who comes through in a time of need."

School nurse sitting at a table with district leader

Although this time has been overwhelming and challenging for Charonda, she has come through a smarter and stronger nurse leader as she discusses when she reflects on what she will remember most about this time. 

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