As you know, we have decided to publish articles highlighting members of the school community. This week we meet Rym CHRIGUI, Evere school nurse.
We asked her a few questions, about what inspired her to become a nurse, anecdotes and the promotion of the overall health and wellbeing. We thank Rym for her availability and her help!
- What made you decide to become a school nurse in a European school? What makes it different and what do you enjoy most about your work?
I chose to work in an ES because the system in these institutions offers comprehensive care for pupils. All the different professions working together in an educational establishment enable a whole range of activities to be put in place to enable pupils to follow their learning path in the best possible way. And as a nurse, having the opportunity to work with these people enables me to improve the quality and results of my work.
What’s more, on a personal level, I share the philosophy and vocation of the ES. Enabling children to grow and learn in a multicultural and, above all, multilingual environment is a wonderful opportunity. As a nurse, being able to help maintain an environment that is conducive to their learning, even indirectly, is a great opportunity.
- What are the most common tasks in your day-to-day work?
My daily routine is punctuated by managing medical visits, prophylactic illnesses, preparing “health workshops”, administering treatment to pupils who need it, emails, calls, etc. And in between all that, managing the care of injuries sustained in falls or accidents. And between all this, managing the care of injuries sustained in falls or accidents. Pupils may come to me with physical ailments, but also with ailments of the ‘heart’. Some come to me to share their worries or their joy, their plans or their grief. I’m also there to listen and support them. I’m also there for colleagues who have questions or concerns and are looking for some “medical” advice.
My days are unpredictable and never the same, and that’s what I like!
- What is your role in promoting health and wellbeing in general, in collaboration with the whole school community (teachers, parents, others)?
Since the opening of the Evere site, I’ve been working closely with Mrs Pannells, our canteen manager, to set up ‘health workshops’, combining our skills and sharing our knowledge with the pupils. In 2021-2022, the theme of our workshops was healthy snacks. In 2022-2023, we tackled the subject of the digestive system and the various benefits of the vegetables most commonly used in the canteen. This year, we’ll leave you with the surprise of discovering the subject during the second term… 😊
I also work in collaboration with various ASBLs who come to the school to offer health-related activities to the pupils.
I’m also available to work with teachers to illustrate certain points in the curriculum.
Some of my talks can also be spontaneous, at the request of parents, teachers or management.
- What has been the most difficult situation you have encountered so far and how did you resolve it?
I can’t think of any particular situation so far. Obviously, every situation is different, from the little scratch caused by the page of a book in the library to the broken arm caused by a fall in the playground, every child reacts differently. But if you keep calm and listen to your child, any situation is manageable.
But generally speaking, the most difficult thing to manage is to reach the ‘limit’ of my skills/missions. Here at the school I run a school infirmary. I can therefore provide first aid when necessary, but unfortunately I can’t always detect everything. For example, when a child suffers a fall or a fracture, I stay with them and try to reassure them as much as possible while they wait for their parents or the emergency services. But seeing a child in pain is very difficult. In cases like that, I’d really like to be able to do more, but as I’m not a hospital doctor, I don’t know.
- What advice would you give to parents who want to discuss their health problems with a school nurse?
My role is to take care of pupils during school hours when they are at school. I’m available every day of the week from 8am to 4pm. Parents can therefore contact me at their convenience at these times. Of course, their general practician (GP) remains their best point of reference.
- Do you have a (funny) remedy or anecdote about how parents can help their children smile again after a minor injury?
When a child has an injury, a fall or any other reason for going to the infirmary, there is always some apprehension or stress, whether major or minor. To take the best possible care of your child, the first thing to do is to calm them down and get them to relax. A touch of humour or a joke can help to put the child at ease. This makes it easier to take charge and provide care.
For others, humour is not what’s needed. Reassuring the child and listening to him may be more appropriate. It all depends on the individual and their personality.
Interview held by U. Storost