While sometimes the School-Based Health Centers have high stakes cases, there are many children and adults that come into the SBHCs on a daily basis who just need help getting their basic needs met.
At the Levine Family Health Center, the nurse practitioner sees several ear impaction cases each month. While this sounds life threatening, it is simply earwax buildup that can easily be cleaned out of the ear. Heather, who is the SBHC’s Nurse Practitioner, recounted digging not only earwax from student’s ears but also earring backs and gemstones, small Legos, and even a fly. She loves the look on student’s faces after she cleans out their ears: their eyes light up, as if they didn’t realize how muffled sounds were until they could hear clearly again. These children return to class with an excitement to listen to others, their teacher, and of course—to music.
Other students come in with cramps during their period. It’s hard to focus in class with cramps that last for hours, so many of the girls venture over to the SBHC to get pain medication to help relieve their cramps. Some simple ibuprofen goes a long way in helping girls stay in school, focused on academics instead of the pain they are enduring.
SBHCs allow kids to be more engaged in the classroom, at times because they are able to provide simple services that have the power in making a big difference.