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School nurse a soothing presence


Bumps to the head, blood noses and band aids are all part of a day’s work for school nurse Tania Morris.

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Add to that the occasional sprained ankle, headaches and grazed knees and you get a fairly good picture of the types of ailments that bring students into the First Aid room at St Augustine’s Parish School, Salisbury.

“There is a variety of things and I’m definitely not treating the same thing every day,” the qualified enrolled nurse said.

“It does vary in how many children come in…one day I may have 20 children come in and the next day I may have half that, plus those who come in for their daily medications.

“In a ‘normal’ day I have children coming in who are on daily medication, others for asthma, or it could be as easy as putting on a bandaid, attending to a grazed knee, to possibly seeing a fractured wrist, sprained ankle, somebody with concussion, blood noses. Some children come in for a headache because they haven’t had enough water to drink and they have got a bit dehydrated, and then there are tummy aches.”

School nurse Tania Morris caring for student Sienna Musolino.

There are school nurses like Tania employed at several Catholic schools around the State and this year they have been particularly busy as students and staff get used to living with the Omicron variant.

Masks are now required at some year levels and if a student is displaying COVID symptoms then there are SA Health guidelines that must be followed.

“For example, if a student says they have a sore throat, which is one of the COVID symptoms, then we need to isolate them and send them home,” Tania explained.

“Children in general are fairly resilient and they seem to be coping well with wearing the masks. Some are a bit apprehensive if they are being sent home with a COVID symptom because they know they are going to need to get a COVID test and that can be a little traumatic for them.”

Joining St Augustine’s late last year in the newly created part-time school nurse position, Tania (pictured) said the role enabled her to combine her experience as an enrolled nurse, her training as a volunteer with the SA Ambulance Service and being a qualified
Level 1 sports trainer with the Freeling Football Club.

“It’s been a fantastic move for me and a real privilege to be here at St Augustine’s Parish School as I have been able to combine all this knowledge, and to be a part of the children’s health and wellbeing. All the children and staff here are amazing,” she said.

A mum of five, with three children still in high school, Tania is no stranger to the playground injuries that can occur and is mindful of keeping parents informed when the need arises.

“I make sure I give them a call if their child has had a bump to the head, and if it is a more serious bump I ask them to pick up the child and take them to the doctor to be checked for concussion. Even with blood noses I give the parents a courtesy call so they know what has happened,” she said.

St Augustine’s principal Dan Cowan said Tania was a welcome addition to the school staff and their commitment to student wellbeing.

“I think parents are relieved that they have a nurse on site. It gives them that extra reassurance and puts their mind at ease,” he said.


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