Bernice Arnett, school nurse for the Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District, is in charge of student health at the district’s seven public schools. (Ryder Diaz/KQED)

Editor’s Note: School nursing is more than Band-Aids and ice packs. Nurses help students with complex medical conditions and tough home lives. Bernice Arnett is a nurse for seven schools in Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District — two Central Valley towns just south of Modesto. This month, our ongoing health series called Vital Signs focuses on prevention. Arnett talks about how she’s working to keep students and families in her community healthy.

By Bernice Arnett

There have been days where I have visited all seven sites in one day. But I was doing reactive nursing rather than proactive nursing. There were times that I’d have to actually triage in my head what I should go do first.

You treat the whole student. Sometimes you treat the whole family. And a lot of times, families are desperate. They don’t know where to turn.

They’re overwhelmed and sometimes it’s as simple as making a phone call and getting three bags of groceries for them for the weekend. It’s almost like they see the light of day again.

Many of our children come from single parent homes. Some come from domestic violence, and some of these little people come to school worried about their parents.

I had a little boy that just could not sit in class. It was just day in and day out he was in my office, crying. He had a stomach ache. It was this and that, and I thought, ‘Something does not feel right.’

Well, the parents had separated. Dad had made a threatening remark to the mom and the child had heard it. And so every day she made him come to school. And everyday he was in school sick — physically ill at the thought that Mom may be injured.

I contacted Mom and had to give her directions on how to file a restraining order. It took some doing to finally to get this little person to understand that he could come to school and learn again.

Sometimes it might not be under the “nursing category,” but if it needs to be done, you do it.

This story was reported by Ryder Diaz.

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School Nursing in Small-Town California: Much More Than You Think 9 July,2014Ryder Diaz

  • Maureen Dugan

    “You treat the whole student. Sometimes you treat the whole family. And a lot of times, families are desperate. They don’t know where to turn.” Nursing is not just technical treatment. Nurses treat the whole patient and deal with many issues that may not seem to be the actual “problem”. The “art and science ” of nursing is complex and rewarding and cannot be delegated to a computer or robot.

  • Tracy Adams

    I have been suffering from HIV/AIDS since 3 years now, and i happen to have 2 kids for my husband, and now we cannot proceed to have another kids all because of my disease. I have done everything possible to get my disease healed, i have went to several places to seek for help not even one person could ever help, until i met a comment on the daily news paper that was commented by Miss Jane, about how this powerful traditional doctor help her get cured of her disease (HIV-AIDS) . I first taught having a help from a spiritual traditional healer was a wrong idea, but i think of these, will i continue to stress on these disease all day when i have someone to help me save my life?” so i gather all my faiths and put in all interest to contact him through his Email address at , so after i have mailed him of helping get my disease cured, he responded to me as fast as possible that i should not be afraid, that he is a truthful and powerful doctor that will help me cure my disease. So after all has been done, he promise me that i will be healed but on a condition that i provide him some items which he is going to use to prepare the herbal medication. I gave him the money to buy the items for me and only to see that the following week, Dr Ogbodu mail me on my mail box that my work is successfully done with his powers, i used the herbal medication just the way he instructed me to use it. When i went to the hospital to conclude my final test, to my greatest surprise, my doctor told me that i am now HIV- Negative. I am the most happiest person on earth now, thanks to Dr Ogbodu. You can also contact him via his email address: if you need his help, he is waiting to receive you.

    • Jada

      What are you talking about?

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