When I sat down with Head Nurse Shana Horan, in her office in the back of the infirmary, there were, fortunately for her and me, no kids complaining about upset stomachs.
Reflecting on the last school year, Mrs. Horan said she and her team had to work at the forefront, giving vaccines, monitoring covid policies, and “shedding light upon the importance of the health of individuals.”
They did all of this while still aiding students who had minor illnesses. I think I speak for the whole Lovett community when I say our nurses are heroes in disguise. In her work, everyone had to be on their feet and ready to adapt to any changes the CDC made. With this mindset, work was very stressful and “the anxiety levels were very high,” she said.
Fortunately, she managed to get a much needed break over the summer. A highlight was spending time with her family out in Acadia national park celebrating a family member's wedding. Of course, there were Covid friendly policies. She pointed out it was “limited to 20 people.”
Along with traveling and relaxing Mrs. Horan might have had the chance to watch her favorite medical show, “The Good Doctor.” Her medical-related media did not, after a busy year of contact tracing, include any pandemic-themed movies.
Many who are already frightened by Covid would probably not jump at the chance to be in close contact with people who could possibly have it, but Mrs. Horan views it as her responsibility as a healthcare provider. She takes the proper precautions to not get exposed. “You do your very best,” she said. “It is not a worry or dreaded job. We are willing to take the risk.”
As of last school year, many high schoolers and some middle schoolers were all approved by the CDC to get vaccines. “It was very exciting seeing the response of the students who were following vaccination, and were lined up for their vaccines,” she said. “It was a pleasurable experience getting to provide that service to students.”
It’s been even more pleasurable for her at the start of this new school year “to see students on campus and interacting with each other.” Although she, like all of us, was excited by the prospect of not wearing the masks on campus,” she wasn’t surprised by the variants and the need to take precautions. With her knowledge about medicine and other vaccines, Mrs. Horan noted that this new variant is “very infectious and contagious,” yet it is “similar to our original Covid.”
Some may already know, but Mrs. Horan also has three children who attend the Lovett school. Curious about the complexity of working in close proximity to her kids, I asked about how she felt. “I love it,” she said with a proud smile on her face. “It's pretty convenient. It makes it easier and more approachable when you have a professional and personal relationship.”
With the new Covid policies and regulations Lovett students must abide by, Mrs. Horan has some words of wisdom: “I would encourage people to take frequent mask breaks outside. It is a minor inconvenience in the big spokes of protecting our faculty and students against something that could have a negative impact on themselves and others.”
Mrs. Horan was about to take her own kind of break. When I asked her what her plans were after this conversation, she looked at her watch, smiled slightly and said, “Finish charting, answer lots of emails, take her family home, then start dinner.”