School nurses from Prince William County, Virginia, are volunteering with the Prince William Health District call center.
“Since we aren’t currently serving students in the school setting, it seems fitting that we serve them and their families in the communities at-large,” said Glorya Jordan, a registered nurse who works at Rockledge Elementary School on Mariner Lane in Woodbridge. “So, I am volunteering my time with the COVID response team.”
Jordan is among a couple dozen school nurses who are volunteering at the call center, that also is staffed by doctors.
“It’s very rewarding, because I can almost feel the sighs of relief when a mom hears: ‘Yes, it is allergy season. And yes, many kids have increased allergies and asthma symptoms right now.'”
Worried parents are among the most frequent callers, Jordan said.
One of the most common questions?
“My child has increased asthma symptoms, I’m concerned they have COVID — should I go to the emergency room?” Jordan said.
Call takers, however, do not diagnose. They answer questions and provide resources to help alleviate people’s anxiety.
So, the parent of an asthmatic child might be given a checklist of questions. One question asks a parent to determine if their child has just been sneezing due to allergies, or might have something more serious such as a fever or chest pains.
One of Jordan’s most common pieces of advice? Don’t go to the hospital, call your doctor, instead.
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Diana Fening is the nurse at Occoquan Elementary School on Occoquan Road. The nurse of about 18 years is answering phones at the call center two or three times a week.
“It is hard to watch other nurses in the trenches and not be able to do something,” Fening said in a news release. “It is a great way to give back to the community.”
Also volunteering at the call center, Patty Tipmongkol is a part-time support nurse in Prince William County’s middle and high schools.
“I find it gratifying to help in any way possible,” Tipmongkol said in the same release. “We are in this together.”