Scholarship Essay Series - AB Winner (Samantha Hann)

Nursing and Prevention in Schools: 2018 Scholarship Winner (AB)

Samantha Hann

Red Deer College – Bachelor of Science Nursing Program – 2020

I chose to enter nursing because I have a huge passion to help people. At the time of entering the nursing program, this passion was specifically geared towards helping those that may be in vulnerable states with their illnesses. Though this is still a passion of mine, the past two years of nursing school have also ignited a passion inside of me to help educate the general public. I have begun to realize that there are a lot of efforts placed in the fixing and healing of people and not as much in the educating and preventing of their illnesses.

Since I was in high school I always knew I wanted to educate and equip those in developing countries so that they might have a better understanding of how to stay healthy in the circumstances and environments they live in. I still hope to do this for a period of time in my life, however, I am also eager to start conversations here in Canada about what it looks like to be healthy and autonomous within one’s health. I specifically dream about bridging the healthcare sector with the education system.

Bringing nurses into schools again to educate and support both the students and staff. Beginning the education, of not only what it means to be physically healthy but also mentally healthy, at a young age and as children develop into young adults. Growing up with a parent who is a teacher, I grasped at a young age that the education system and the health care system needed to communicate with one another. As I began my education in nursing this understanding has developed even further.

This past year I had the opportunity to do a portion of my mental health clinical practicum in a primary school. At first, it was challenging figuring out what mine and my partner’s role was, as there was no school nurse to shadow. With much brainstorming, we began planning education days that focused on understanding of emotions, friendship, and belonging/acceptance. During this placement, I also began to realize that there was a huge reliance on the school’s counselor to not only support student’s emotional needs but also their physical needs. Working alongside the counselor I dealt with ear infections, fevers, cuts that were infected, and many colds.

I began to realize that we live in a society today where children are spending more awake time at school then at home and because of this many of their health understandings and issues are being explored and supported at school, yet there are no health care professionals there. My hope is to encourage the school system and the health care system to come together and use the opportunity we have to create a healthier society, starting with education in schools.

I hope with my career that I can not only bring support to the health needs that are already present in schools but also bring in an educational health curriculum to be taught within the schools. A curriculum that explores important aspects of health based off the ages and developmental stage of the children and adolescents. This curriculum would cover kindergarten to grade 12. My desire is that it would discuss topics such as washing hands and being good friends within the younger grades, and develop into conversations such as healthy eating habits and safe sex habits within the older grades.

As a school nurse, I would want to work closely with the wellness worker and teaching staff to support the students’ needs in the best way possible. Another huge aspect of being in the schools would be the opportunity we as nurses would have to connect with parents and families and provide educational opportunities for the adults as well. Opening up an opportunity to have health education nights for families.