Emily Oium

A Day in the Life of Emily Oium, BSN, RN

 May 11, 2022

 By: Teresa DuChateau

School nurse walking into office

Emily Oium has worked as a school nurse for the past five years but recently transferred from another district to the La Farge School District. Emily, who is employed by Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital, is contracted to work 30 hours a week. She provides nursing services to a little over 250 students in two elementary, 1 middle, and 1 high school.

Emily established a close working relationship with the district's Superintendent, Meaghan Gustafson as the two took the lead in managing the district's COVID prevention and mitigation plans. 

Emily won't soon forget all the spreadsheets she created to track COVID related data. Emily stated, "The spreadsheets.....oh the spreadsheets!" "On any given day I would have eight spreadsheets open on my computer."

The La Farge School District had not had a school nurse prior to Emily. Although most of her time in the beginning was focused on managing COVID she also spent a considerable amount of time reviewing policies and procedures, educating the school staff regarding the role of a school nurse, and establishing workflows. 

School nurse examining student's throat using penlight

School nurse examining student's ear with otoscope

Although Emily provides school nursing services in a small, rural school district, you could not tell by the number of students who came to see her the morning that I visited. The health room resides in a school building that houses the elementary, middle, and high school students. 

School nurse administering medication to student
School nurse talking with a student

Emily has noticed that Mondays seem to be a busier day for her. She shares why that is in this interview clip. 

Prior to ending our day, we visited the Kickapoo Valley Forest School, a charter school of the La Farge district, to drop off first aid supplies. Emily states, "Our district opened a new outdoor Forest School during the pandemic. This has been an awesome experience to be a part of. I often visited the school for injury triage or to help educate staff and families on illness protocols. Here I am walking into the new classroom building that serves as a homeroom for the students who are learning outdoors every day. I wanted to feature something from the Forest School as a way of recognizing different learning environments, as well as celebrating the fact that we had no evidence of in-school COVID-19 transmission in this outdoor setting!"

School nurse walking to small one room school building

As Emily restocks the first aid supplies in one of the Forest Schools indoor classrooms she chats with a student. Even though Emily is wearing a mask, you can see the engagement in her eyes. Emily states, "I feel that this photo shows the connections and relationships I have created with students. I'm restocking a first aid kit, but the children come up to me to talk about their day, even when they aren't ill or injured."

School nurse talking with young student

Emily shares why she volunteered to participate in this project. 

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 Teresa@schoolhealthassociates.com