Opening a school nurse’s kit, you’d expect to find bandages, inhalers or ibuprofen to help address those ailments that are common among kids. But an antidote for a heroin overdose? That’s just what nurses are carrying in every school across New Rochelle, N.Y., which is just north of the Bronx in Westchester County, the New York Times reports. Naloxone, as it’s called, can come in injectable and nasal spray forms and is used to revive a person who isn’t breathing after they OD. The city isn’t alone, as schools in Massachusetts, Kentucky, New Mexico all carry the drug for emergencies. Rhode Island even requires every school, K–12, to have naloxone in its building. New York state has a program that provides the drug for free, and 64 schools have taken part. “It is absolutely a sad sign of the times,” Roy Reese, superintendent of Washingtonville Central School District in Orange County, N.Y., tells the newspaper. “I say this not reluctantly, but sadly: It is only a matter of time.”

A Little Miracle by the Side of the Road

As a cardiac nurse, Michelle Markey has seen a lot of strangers exit this world. A couple of weeks ago, she helped one enter it. With his wife deep in labor, a New Hampshire man raced home from work, helped her into their truck and sped off toward the birthing center where they had intended their son to be delivered, according to an article in the Boston Globe. “We started out, and I was, like, ‘Look out for the bumps!” the wife said she told her husband. “About eight minutes into the ride, I said, ‘Who cares about the bumps? Let’s go!” By then, it was too late. They pulled to the side of the road and the husband called their midwife, Adrian Feldhusen, on a cellphone. As it happened, Markey had decided to take a new route to pick up her stepchildren and noticed the man pacing and talking excitedly on the phone. She pulled her car over and, with Feldhusen guiding her via the phone, helped to deliver Kiehin White on what happened to be the same day that his dad Orion turned 26. After a night at St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, N.H., the healthy and happy family went home.

A Doctorate at 71

We hear a lot these days about the flood of baby boomer nurses moving into retirement, frustrated by the challenges of technology, too much file work, and the many changes taking place in health care today. But after 50 years of working in the field, Janice Napier of San Augustine, Texas, seems as invigorated by it all as ever. In fact, as reported by ABC Channel 9, Napier, 71, recently earned her doctorate of nursing from Grand Canyon University after completing her direct practice improvement project titled “Geriatric Polypharmacy: A Potentially Lethal Dilemma.” Although she admits to being “a little bit technologically challenged, "I do not feel old," Napier said. "My mind is seeking. I am always trying to learn."

NP Battles Against Stereotypes

Nurse practitioners are becoming more important as physicians continue to gravitate toward specialized practices, but there are still misconceptions that NPs aren’t as qualified as doctors. Gina Leman, a board-certified family nurse practitioner at Hendricks Regional Health, Danville, Ind., is working to change that through public education — which she believes is the source of the problem, the Hendricks County Flyer reports. “Baby boomers and older — they aren’t familiar with what a nurse practitioner is,” she said to the Flyer. “We are trained to very appropriately and very thoroughly attend to patients’ needs within the capacity we practice. We are not trying to become doctors.” In Leman’s state of Indiana, a nurse practitioner must start as a registered nurse, and then take additional training in an area like pediatrics or family. Only then can he or she become NP. As baby boomers continue to age, having adequate care may become priority No. 1. 

School Nurse Saves Child’s Life

Collingswood, N.J., nurse Patricia Butler knew something was off when a kindergarten teacher brought 5-year-old Nate Campbell into her office, noting that he didn’t “look right.” Despite assurances that the kindergartner was just fighting a cold, Butler insisted the boy be rushed to the hospital. Her instincts were right: Campbell was diagnosed with leukemia and needed an immediate blood transfusion. Six months later, Campbell is doing well and is in his last session of chemotherapy. If he hadn’t received the transfusion when he did, however, “I don’t know that my son would be here,” Campbell’s mother, Nicole DeFeo Campbell, said. Read more from the Courier-Post online.

Rapid Fire

Here are a few more nurse-related items that caught our eye, in rapid fashion:

  • The number of oncology nurse navigators who help cancer patients along their care journey, is on the rise as the shift to value-based care continues, according to MedCity News.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is using millions in federal funds to close staffing gaps across the state and hire more than 3,000 nurse aides, Wisconsin Public Radio reports.
  • And finally, a nonprofit started by an Atlanta neonatal nurse to help improve child care in Third World countries is continuing to grow five years after its launch and is seeking further countries to assist, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.