Each day, CMDS Nurse Alison Boeving hands out a lot of Band-Aids and a number of ice packs, in addition to checking blood sugars, doses of daily medications and insulin. She also enjoys daily encounters with a funny – and surprisingly consistent – cast of characters.
“Each one of these colorful characters makes up the story of my day and enriches my experience as the school nurse,” she says. “I love every single one of them!”
Here are Nurse Alison’s top 10 most colorful characters:
1. The Frequent Flier
I get to know the frequent fliers well, and they are predictable. They come to the Nurse’s Station on a regular basis, often for the same ailment. They have figured out the system and love to pull one over on a substitute or Encore teacher. This child always requires immediate attention before they have the opportunity to feel better on their own.
2. The TMI
When this student appears at the Nurse’s Station, the reason for their visit starts with “last week when…” and includes every detail from last week until the moment that their stomach began hurting at lunch. Often, I don’t know the exact reason for this student’s visit because it is hidden somewhere in too much information.
3. The Ambulance Driver
The Ambulance Driver is the student who accompanies the “patient.” An eager ambulance driver will not let the patient get a word in edgewise (see The TMI), describing the entire scenario leading up to reason for their arrival. This student revels in the drama of the situation and often enjoys calling out anyone else who may have been involved.
4. The Repeat Offender
The Repeat Offender comes to the Nurse’s Station on a regular basis for the same reason: Band-Aid replacement, Vaseline for chapped lips, a change of pants, a hangnail, a loose tooth, a Math-class induced stomachache, the list goes on. This can even be an Ibuprofen seeking teacher!
5. The Well-Meaning Sub
The well-meaning substitute teacher is not familiar with the students in her class, so she sends each and every child who might need a Band-Aid, an ice pack or even just a pep talk. She can send more than half of the class in one school day.
6. The Worry Warts, Student and Teacher
The Worry Wart student may be somewhat of a hypochondriac. Or a student who threw up at school three years ago and is terrified of a repeat performance. This child may not have felt 100% at home that morning and their parent said, “Just go see the nurse today if you don’t feel well.” (Note to parents: Your child will ALWAYS follow up on this if you say it).
The Worry Wart teacher likely had a student throw up on their classroom rug three years ago and is terrified of a repeat performance. Or she worries that every student who hits their head on the side of the slide may have a concussion. Or she’s a germaphobe. We can’t send home everybody who might throw up!
7. “I Just Need an Ice Pack”
This is the student who might possibly need stitches, a change of clothes, a large Band-Aid, or some sort of immediate medical attention. However, they do NOT appreciate visiting the school nurse and/or they do NOT want to be seen at the Nurse’s Station. These patients are often 2K’ers, 5th Graders or 6th Graders.
8. Drama Queens (and Kings)
These students often approach my desk screaming bloody murder while soaking up the attention of each person they might pass on the way. The Drama Queen and King uses lots of adjectives, hand gestures and detail.
9. The Bad Actor
The Bad Actor is the student you can see happily skipping all the way from the playground to the glass doors. When they arrive inside and make eye contact, suddenly they have a significant limp and a grimace.
10. The Fans
These sweet friends are most commonly in JK, SK and 1st Grade. They enthusiastically greet me each time they walk by, often jeopardizing the class’ quiet status in the hallway. The Fans want everybody to know they have been to see the nurse. They aspire to be Ambulance Drivers, and make me feel like a celebrity!
Next Up for Nurse Alison
Alison Boeving has been the Christ Methodist Day School nurse since 2006. Prior to joining the CMDS staff, she was the Church Health Center’s Nurse Manager. “I always knew that I wanted to work more exclusively with kids and who can pass up the opportunity to have summers off and snow days too,” Boeving says.
After a number of years doubling as a receptionist, nurse and general jack of all trades, Nurse Alison will be moving to a dedicated space in the fall. The CMDS Clinic will be a new, private area for her to see and consult with students.
“I feel like this is the next big step in my role as the school nurse, and I’m excited to begin planning for the transition.”
Christ Methodist Day School first opened its doors in 1958 to 75 kindergarten students. Since then, CMDS has stayed true to its Christian elementary school roots while continuing to thrive as one of the best private schools in Memphis. We encourage you to come see why we are the primary choice for so many Memphis families.