School nurse Debbie Reddick just keeps going

School nurse Debbie Reddick just keeps going

Riya Shah
eSomethin’ Staff

Debbie Reddick is a superhero in nurses clothing. She takes care of 1750 + students and 150+ staff members every single day. The Perrysburg High School nurse has a tremendous amount of responsibilities everyday.

“I have so many different things to do and keep track of during the day, I could not possibly list them all,” Reddick laughed. 

In a 20-minute period interviewing Reddick, six  students came down to the her office, all for different reasons. Some had dental issues, others wanted to go home, and some came for regularly scheduled medications. “That’s the way it goes,” Reddick said. (Photo credit: Riya Shah)

Reddick is tirelessly working to help students with all different sorts of medical problems along with her other duties. 

On a normal day, she comes into school early to restock medical supplies in her office. Then she sets up all of the medications that students come in to take during the school day. Once the school doors open, she is inundated with an influx of students with a variety of medical issues.  

During the school day, Reddick must make phone calls to the parents of unwell students, and enter any information about sick child into the database.

Reddick said, “I am bombarded with students during the day, and usually will not have time to complete my other responsibilities.”  

If she gets any rare breaks during the day from treating ill students, Reddick completes her other work: checking immunization records, reading through all of the emergency screenings submitted by every student at the beginning of the school year, and documenting new and continuing medications and allergies. 

Every cafeteria worker knows what allergies students have, and all teachers know what to do in case of a medical emergency. Unsurprisingly, Reddick is the mastermind who informs cafeteria staff of the allergies, and she also writes individual action plans for every teacher who teaches children with medical issues. These action plans contain detailed instructions for the teacher to follow in the event that any of the million possible medical emergencies takes place. 

Reddick is also tasked with the role of being the supervisor of all the other nurses working for the school district. This means she not only orders medical supplies and makes sure they arrive for the high school but for every school in the district. 

All of these responsibilities have been guzzling away her time, forcing Reddick to “leave school around 6:30 everyday” and “complete a few more hours of work after getting home” she said.

The culprit behind the large amount of work on her plate is none other than COVID-19. 

Contact tracing is the process of tracking the spread of COVID from person to person. Reddick is tasked with figuring out what classes students attended; she also has to find out who positive students sit near, who they carpool with, who they play sports with, who they regularly hang out with, and even if they attended past football games. After collecting all of this information, Reddick is required to send any and all information to Perrysburg’s COVID support team, and stay in close contact with them to get procedural updates and changes. Reddick said that, “there is a lot of back and forth between the COVID support team and me.” 

Reddick also ensures every student’s mental health is good. She works conjointly with the school counselors to look into any physiological reasoning behind certain kids showing up in the nurse office frequently. Together they consider many possibilities, such as a student struggling in a class due to its difficulty level, or perhaps a case of  bullying.  Reddick said her goal is to, “protect every student’s learning experience to make it as safe and enjoyable as possible.”

She uses the counselors to help provide insight to all emotional and mental issues that students may be battling.

Reddick said, “ I utilize their help to de-escalate any emotional situations like panic-attacks.”

Reddick has plenty of annual obligations to fulfill — training the staff on how to use epinephrine pens, teaching CPR classes, and providing training so that staff members are aware of how to act in medical emergencies.

Staff members and students across the school speak praise of Reddick. 

Margaret Smith, Spanish level 2 & 3 teacher, said, “Mrs. Reddick is genuinely the kindest, most compassionate person I have met. She treats everyone with dignity and respect. She is truly dedicated to her career and we, at PHS, are so fortunate to have her! These last 18 months sure have been difficult, but each day she does her best to keep us safe.”  

Sophomore Sophia Lanno said “Mrs. Reddick always helps me when I don’t feel good and she is so understanding about what teenagers’ lives are actually like.” 

Her one true passion is to see students in person and treat whatever may be going on with them. Every morning when she comes into school, she has one question on her mind, “How can I best take care of every child and staff member in the building?”

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