Fun Run Supports School Nurses in Holland

Julie Bitely

| 3 min read

school nurse 5k
Did you know that Michigan ranks last when it comes to the ratio of school nurses to students?
Holland Hospital is trying to change that for students enrolled at Holland Public Schools and surrounding districts. A partnership between the hospital and local schools helps to fund on-site school nurses. The hospital system covers a large portion of the cost based on need, with the school district covering part of the expense.
The School Nurse 5K Run/Walk 2015 taking place Thursday night at Holland High School will raise money for the hospital’s school nursing program, which serves over 11,000 students in the greater Holland area. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are sponsors of this year’s race, the third year for the event. Students who have completed ten 30-minute physical fitness activities of their choice prior to the event will earn free entry to the race.
“I love that part of it – that they have to do some physical activity in order to get a free admission into the race,” said Lisa Gort, a school nurse at Holland’s East K-7 building. “We’re always touting the importance of physical activity outside of the school day.”
Gort said anything that encourages students to get physically active in the face of rising childhood obesity is welcome. She plans to volunteer at tomorrow’s race and said its mission to raise money to fund school nurses is vitally important to the health of students.
“It is a wonderful community outreach from Holland Hospital to do this for our local school districts,” she said.
Gort said nurses take care of students when they are sick or injured. They administer medication and serve as the frontline when it comes to making the call about whether a student needs to be sent home. They also serve as a building educator for students, staff and parents when it comes to health and wellness.
“It’s a big role and it really is an important one,” Gort said.
Colleen Perdok, Fund Development Coordinator at Holland Hospital, said school nurses are particularly important in low-income schools. Sometimes an established school nurse will be the only medical professional students see.
“We want to be where we’re needed,” Perdok said.
Having an on-site nurse reduces the number of students sent home due to perceived illness because a proper evaluation of the student’s complaint can take place. This means less time out of the classroom for students and less time missed on the job for parents. Nurses are also a huge resource when it comes to educating parents about when they should seek further medical attention or when a student presents with something contagious.
Head to Holland High School on Thursday night to cheer on students and the school nurses that support them. Find out how your county stacks up when it comes to school nurses here.
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Photo courtesy of Holland Hospital

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