Nurses Profile – Mrs. Suzy Shields and Mrs. Rosie Pascale

Senior Matt Harrigan recently interviewed our two new nurses at Burlington High School. Mrs. Shields and Mrs. Pascale graciously spent their time to talk about their experiences so far at BHS.

1.What brought you to BHS?

Mrs. Pascale

I had worked at all the schools in Burlington floating from school to school. I loved the vibe the few times I covered at BHS. There was always this amazing positive energy from the moment I would walk in. I love this age group. Students are so full of possibilities, they are preparing for independence away from home, starting their first jobs, first time driving, applying to college, participating in all the wonderful clubs, music and sports that BHS has to offer.

Mrs. Shields

I was a school nurse at Fox Hill for 12 years and I decided that I would like a change and come to Burlington High School with older students. I had worked at BHS as the school nurse 10 years ago and always wanted to come back.

2. What do you think are the most important things students need to know to maintain good health?

Mrs. Pascale

I think keeping everything in balance at this age can be a challenge. I think students, in general, need more downtime. Some students are way over scheduled and committed too much. It’s a fine line and every student has to find that balance that’s good for them. Teenagers need their sleep for continued brain development, growth, mental health and keeping their immunity built up.

Mrs. Shields

Well, I think it’s really hard for high school age students to see what the future brings them. You live in the moment, so it’s hard to realize you’re going to get older. The better you take care of yourself now, the better you’re going to feel when you’re older, so it’s hard to teach that. I think it’s very important to be healthy.  I’m concerned about vaping it is a big problem and I do worry that the kids were not educated well on the impact it could have on their health. As they get older, you just try to encourage them to do the things that will help them do better in school like getting enough rest and eating healthy or well-balanced meals.

I always say you may like junk food but you need to eat healthy also (everything in moderation).

Mrs. Pascale

Students need the basics like good food, exercise, sleep and surround themselves with good people. Students need to know how unique

3. How do you see technology impacting health care?

Mrs. Shields

One way is in the old days we used to have to manually input everybody’s immunizations on paper. Now we have a computer program that keeps it electronically for us and once we enter it, it lasts forever and we can just add immunizations. It also keeps all the health information for all the students for their entire school career. Attendance is helpful for us to look back on and see if there were any issues when you were younger that maybe impact you now. Also, it is easier for us to get accurate information from the physicians or any hospitalizations as well.

Mrs. Pascale

I think people nowadays have so many health and fitness apps on their phones to track heart rate, fitness goals, mental health, and nutrition. I have seen a lot of good progress with people who are consistent about using these tools.

4. What’s the best part about working here?

Mrs. Pascale

The people, students, and staff alike. The staff are so committed and truly care about the students. I love how diverse our student population is. I feel that because we are so diverse our students have grown up in a school system that respects people from all cultures. I love hearing about students hopes and dreams for the future.

Mrs. Shields

In my opinion, my favorite part is just taking care of the students. I love the high school students, everybody’s great; the staff is really nice. My favorite part of the job is just actually getting to talk to the students and help them feel better. Anything I can do to make them feel better and teaching them anything I can as far as healthcare goes. I always look forward to coming to work. There’s lots of paperwork which is not my favorite thing, but I do know it’s a necessary part of the job.  I guess the best part is just getting to work with high school students, their wonderful and I love it.

5. What does your typical work day consist of?

Mrs. Pascale

Well, it is a lot of communication between students, staff, parents and doctor’s offices throughout the day. There are a lot of various medical conditions that students and staff have. In addition, we see the usual headaches, seasonal allergies, colds, flu, tummy bugs, cuts, scrapes, anxiety, broken bones etc. We also see students who are stressed out and just need to talk. We make sure that students immunizations are all up to date and that we have a current history and physical on file. Sometimes we screen for drugs and alcohol. Vaping has been a big problem not just at BHS but throughout the United States, with many teenagers. We reinforce making good choices and we do a lot of incidental student education re drugs and alcohol.

Mrs. Shields

Actually, I have to say is a high school nurse there is actually no typical workday. It’s always something different; you never really know what’s going to happen. It could be a kind of a quiet day and if there are assemblies we actually don’t see the kids as much or it could be the time of the year where illnesses are going around, so we see lots of sick kids sometimes. We have kids that are emotionally upset and that sometimes could take up a good portion of the day trying to get them to feel better about whatever has upset them. Sometimes we have staff members that aren’t feeling well and will get injured on the job, etc., and we have to also help them. I guess the typical part of it would be there’s always somebody to take care and help out as far as healthcare considerations, but a typical day doesn’t exist other than we do have certain things we do every day. Most days have different challenges, it is always interesting.


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