Herald-Guide People Watch
Tanya Street elected to state nurse board
Street says that she is fulfilling her lifelong dream by working with kids day in and day out.
“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse,” she said. “I’ve never considered anything else.”
Prior to nursing school, Street worked in pediatrics and hospital emergency rooms.
“I was an LPN for 10 years and have been an RN for 20 years,” Street added. “I’m also a legal nurse consultant and a certified school nurse.”
And Street’s resume doesn’t stop there. Over the years she’s worked mainly in hospitals and for a group of ophthalmologist in a free-standing urgent care center and for an industrial-medicine clinic.
“I lived in Florida for 11 years and worked in hospital in the emergency room as both a staff nurse and a charge nurse,” she said.
Street points out that the most rewarding part of being a school nurse is making a difference in a child’s life.
“I leave work everyday feeling like I did something to help a child,” said Street. “A lot of students who in the past were put in an institution because of severe medical needs are now in our public schools, thanks to having a nurse on campus. School nurses don’t just hand out Band-Aids!”
School nurses monitor every student’s immunizations and make sure they are current. They screen students yearly for vision, hearing height, weight and scoliosis.
“We have students confined to wheelchairs, have tracheotomies, feeding tubes, shunts, catheters, seizure disorders, asthma, diabetes and other medical needs,” Street said. “In addition to caring for these students with special needs, we take care of children who are sick, injured and take medication.
In addition to taking care of the students, school nurses are often utilized by the school faculty as a resource.
“We teach students everything from hygiene to cancer self exams,” Street said. “I know that everyday when I leave work, I’ve made a difference in someone’s life.”
While helping parish kids get the best medical attention possible, Street mentions that there are challenging aspects of her job.
“Some days it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done,” she said. “Every year brings increasing mandates to school nurses. In a perfect world, there would be a nurse full-time in every school, everyday. Unfortunately, that is not possible, therefore, each nurse in our parish is responsible for around 1,500 students.”
And Street has a few words of wisdom for those considering the school-nurse profession.
“If you want to be a school nurse, you should have a strong medical background,” she said. “Because school nurses deal with every type of illness and injury, you need to have a good knowledge base. And you must love working with children, lots of patience and be a good team player.”
Street was recently voted at president-elect for the Louisiana School Nurse Organization - a group active in monitoring issues regarding the school nurse profession.
“We provide support to all the school nurses in the state, develop and promote school nurse standards, and provide continuing educational opportunities,” said Street. “It will be quite a challenge, but I am up for it!”
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