HARLINGEN — “Here you go, sweetie.”
Deborah Lucas handed a slip to a student at the clinic at Harlingen High School. The student, quiet and pensive, returned to class.
This is the kind of support Lucas, 59, and the other 31 nurses in the school district like to give their students. The school nurses serve more than 18,000 students in the Harlingen school district. From their clinics in the district’s 27 schools, they treat wounds of the mind, body and soul.
Those nurses celebrated National School Nurse Day on Wednesday to recognize school nurses.
“We raffled off gifts,” said Irene Castillo, director of health services. “We had Neighbors Emergency Center come out and give a talk on emergency room procedures.”
School nurses are counselors as well as practitioners of children’s physical health, Castillo said. Castillo oversees all the nurses in the Harlingen school district.
“I love that I can help, that at the end of the year I can look back and see four or five people that I made a real difference,” Castillo said.
Her role is basically to guide other nurses through various situations that may arise.
“I get called about special situations, like a stu-dent that made an outcry,” Castillo said. “They’ll consult with me. ‘Look, this is what’s going on?’ I have very good nurses that can think for themselves and want to do it; they just call me to see if they can do it.”
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National School Nurse Day is held by the National Association of School Nurses to create better understanding of school nurses. It’s celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurse Week, observed this past week.
Nurses educate students and staff on how to manage their own health. They verify immunization and administer medications. They prevent the spread of diseases and provide health services that increase school attendance.