#MNPSVoices: Rebecca Weiser, School Nurse

MNPSVoices_031418_RebeccaWeiser Although Rebecca Weiser is technically a Metro Public Health Department employee, she has been warmly welcomed in the halls of Metro Nashville Public Schools for more than 17 years. Weiser is a school nurse, an integral part of any school staff. For the past few decades, she has split her time between multiple MNPS schools and is currently Nashville School of the Arts’ (NSA) full-time nurse.

“Everyone has been so welcoming,” Weiser said. “They always have been throughout the years, I do feel like a part of the team.”

Weiser sits in her new personal office space tucked in a corner near the cafeteria and looks forward to familiarizing herself with NSA, its students and their needs. As a school nurse, she has a multi-faceted role aimed at reducing students’ health-related absenteeism; minimizing health problems that impair learning; reducing or preventing health problems through education; educating the community about health concerns of school-aged children; helping students to achieve the highest degree of independent functioning and assisting with referrals and screenings.

“I think it has made a difference being here full-time for the students – sometimes they just need a place to sit and recover whether it is physical or emotional,” Weiser said. “They lose less time in class when they do not need to be taken out of school for health appointments.”

Weiser started her career in pediatrics and has been in youth-centered health roles ever since. She did not know she wanted to be a school nurse but from the moment she started, Weiser felt the comfort of a fulfilled career calling.

“I didn’t always plan to be a school nurse but I know this is where I am meant to be—I just love helping students and seeing new faces,” Weiser said.

“Rebecca has a long history with School Health in the Woodbine South Nashville area. She has made an impact in the lives of many of the students in the Glencliff cluster,” said Metro Health Program Manager, Lisa Nistler. “Her passion is to blend the concepts of public health and community nursing into the role of the school nurse, thereby, assisting students and families in those communities.”

Not only does Weiser love seeing students, she has enjoyed being in NSA’s creative atmosphere – a  performing arts school full of talented students. To her delight, Weiser has discovered her office is close enough to the auditorium to hear the muffled sounds of performances. Whether her day involves a school visit from Hunter Hayes or a spell of a stomach bug, Weiser looks forward to each day with equal excitement and joy.

“In this job you have to be flexible and ready for anything—you never know what your day will look like,” she said.

While Weiser welcomes a busy day, she advises teachers to share good classroom hygiene like hand- washing, covering your mouth when sneezing and coughing and, most importantly, knowing when to stay home when you are sick.

“Teachers—when your student looks or feels sick please encourage them to come to the clinic,” Weiser said. “And parents— know when to keep your child at home in the first place.”