Teachers, faculty and staff of Robinson Elementary have recently learned that the school nurse is there to help everyone, not just the students.
Over the past several weeks, nurse Bonnie Bearden has been spotted walking the halls of campus with a blood pressure pump in her hand.
“She’ll be going along, just checking people’s blood pressure as she passes them in the hall,” said Jeannie Edwards, district school nurse coordinator.
Bearden said she decided to step up efforts in support of the American Heart Association’s annual American Heart Month, which was February.
The organization launched the campaign to educate teachers, staff and parents about the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease, as well as teaching ways to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Edwards said the response from employees of Robinson has been “incredible.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity,” Edwards said. “When they come down individually for us to talk to them, they open up about their health.”
Bearden said she asks nurse office visitors if they know their numbers.
“Do you know your blood pressure? Do you know your waist circumference? And do you know your cholesterol?”
“We tell them that those are the risk factors they can control. And we just talk with them about lifestyle changes.”
Edwards said some teachers may be more likely to “stop in and see Nurse Bonnie” than go to the doctor.
“People need a nurse sometimes,” Edwards said. “It’s nice to have somebody to run something by.
“They have such a close relationship with Bonnie that they feel comfortable coming to see her and getting their blood pressure checked or their weight.”
Of the 60 on staff at Robinson, Edwards said nearly all have come to “get their numbers checked.”
Edwards said many of the staff have since joined a gym, while others have visited the doctor for the first time to get on blood pressure medication.
Robinson paraprofessional Julie Stanfield said she has appreciated the extra efforts of the school nurse.
“It’s a great thing they’re doing,” Stanfield said. “We all need to take better care of our blood pressure. It’s nice knowing that [Bonnie] is right down the hall.”
Edwards added that the new line of communication has been beneficial to everyone.
“It’s been interesting to see all the positive changes,” Edwards said. “People are really taking care of their health.”
According to its Web site, the American Heart Association’s mission is to “build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.”