A New Support System for Students

How has Nurse Emily shaped the Friends community?

Without an around the clock psychologist here working in the upper school building, it can be hard for students to feel open to discuss things that concern them. A student’s daily concerns can range from feeling stressed, needing some air, and even just wanting someone older and wiser to which one can talk. It seems that the upper school students have, in fact, found a support system.  This year, the upper school nurse, Emily Green, has provided support for many students and bestowed upon them the peace of mind needed for a break from their rigorous school day.

Nurse Emily Green is the upper school nurse who joined our community during the 2019-2020 school year amidst the winter season. She not only works as the school nurse but is a WFS parent as well. Her children, Liza and Liam, attend the lower school. Nurse Emily has a seasoned perspective on the community at WFS, which makes her an asset to the students.  It is evident that she has impacted this community greatly. Her comfortable office, with inclusive, supporting posters, multiple places for students to sit and rest, and countless small hygienic supplies that help students throughout the day create a physical space that is just as nurturing as her personality. Her office also contains materials such as pamphlets to keep students educated on specific mental illnesses or learning disabilities. These can be helpful as things like this may not commonly be discussed outside of health class without a possible stigma around the subject. Yet instead of learning on your own, you can ask someone who specializes in these studies instead of waiting for your next visit with your doctor. To keep students entertained when in her office waiting for care, she has many things that can catch the eyes of students. Examples of these are small gadgets such as a sketchpad to keep students to keep them amused considering waiting with no activities can be quite boring. Countless students have received great care from Nurse Emily, as she not only provides the medical supplies a student may need but also provides them with genuine kindness and care. 

Visiting her office for a quick chat, medical help, and/or advice often provides Friends students with quick, easy solutions to their problems. With a simple sign-in, Nurse Emily will assist you almost immediately. Students often feel overwhelmed, especially upperclassmen. With huge, looming decisions to make regarding their future, it is very easy for students to feel frustrated. Visiting the nurse’s office provides a solution to that, rest, and a safe place to go if you do not feel well, whether physically or mentally. These aforementioned mental breaks can truly improve a student’s performance in class. Aleija Johnson ‘22 commented, “she makes the room a super safe space that you can always go to while also staying incredibly professional.” I personally noted the true kindness of this community when I first had visited Nurse Emily’s office. Being a new student, the nurses in other schools sometimes may not necessarily be as kind and approachable as Nurse Emily. She opened my eyes to the true kindness of the Friends community and what it means to be a part of it.

 A bit of disagreement remains, however, as small mental breaks or help can be looked down upon as slacking, yet this clearly is not the case for everyone. A Tork survey showed nearly 90% of Northern American employees claim breaks help them feel refreshed and ready to continue working. Mental breaks can increase productivity, as some students report having problems getting the peace and quiet they need during the regular 10:15-10:30 break hours. Chatty behavior is not discouraged, yet if you are ever in need to get away and be in a quiet, private setting, the Nurse’s office is a great place to start. Nurse Emily noted she feels a “strong connection” with the students, and “appreciates the time her job allows her to touch base with students.” 

Nurse Emily has not only made a connection with the high school students but the middle school students as well. Some of the middle school students can be seen stopping by, if not just for medical help, but for a quick hello and check-in. Students feel comfortable visiting and asking for help, which is not always common in other schools. Hannah Carter ‘22 mentioned “Nurse Emily makes me feel cared for. She truly empathizes with you, whether your reason for visiting is physical or emotional.” Nurse Emily is quite efficient at getting kids back to class in a positive mood with all of their medical needs taken care of. Patrece Mcabee ‘22 also notes Nurse Emily “takes the time to actually know who we are, our lives and our names.” Her enlightening personality has helped many and has significantly improved our Friends community.