Patterson Helps Keep School Community Healthy


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Leigh Patterson is the first school nurse for Great Crossing High School and strives to keep faculty and staff healthy.

C. Taylor Gaines, Staff Reporter

Ms. Leigh Patterson, a nurse who had worked at UK amongst other nursing jobs for 25 years, made the transition into school nursing three years ago. After a year of serving as a substitute school nurse for Scott County Schools, she became the school nurse for Great Crossing High School when it first opened in 2019. She had only been working here for a little over 6 months when Scott County Schools shut down due to covid, and her job responsibilities have been affected by the pandemic ever since. 

A typical day in the life of a school nurse before covid would consist of receiving visits from students for injuries, illnesses, or mental health concerns. On top of this, visits would be made for students who take daily medication for things such as ADHD, diabetes, and more. 

Ethan Mosley, junior, believed it’s important to have a nurse on school campuses. “We have a school nurse to help students who need extra assistance sometimes. We really always need someone who’s trained for emergencies and stuff- for things like if someone were to fall.” 

I always wanted a lot of children. I just didn’t know that there was going to be 1,900 of them! I just love working with kids- it’s a joy. It really is.

— Leigh Patterson, GCHS school nurse

Although Patterson had only been working here for a short amount of time before the quarantine, she still notes a huge change in her job responsibilities from pre-covid to now. “It’s been crazy. We have to do the covid tracing, we have to clean and cover isolation rooms, and send out covid reports each day,” she stated. 

School nurses have taken on an even larger role in keeping schools and students healthy throughout the pandemic.  Patterson explained, “We really just have to be very in tune with all the symptoms of covid and have students and teams quarantine when they need to. It’s one thing to see all the students, but it’s another to ensure that a covid outbreak doesn’t get around the school. We’re just trying to keep everybody as safe from the covid virus as we can.” 

Health care officials like Patterson not only take on more responsibilities by having the jobs that they do during the pandemic, but they also have an extra layer of concern–their own health. Patterson said she wasn’t especially worried about getting sick.  “As a healthcare provider it’s just kind of your job. You just do it–as a nurse you consider your own health less than the care of others. I was more worried about a potential outbreak in the school, or on one of the teams.”

Patterson believes that the enjoyment she gets from being a school nurse, even during the pandemic, outweighs these concerns. “I always wanted a lot of children. I just didn’t know that there was going to be 1,900 of them! I just love working with kids- it’s a joy. It really is.”  

Not only students benefit from the care provided from nurses like Ms. Leigh, but so do staff and community members. Patterson describes her role in the community as a resource, and described how she felt about other school nurses like herself,  “We help take care of public health, because we take care of the students who are out in the community. It’s a resource for students and staff when they have health or mental needs. It’s just a lot of student and staff support all day long.” 

Healthcare officials like Patterson continue to provide the best level of care possible, even throughout the pandemic. She sets a notable precedent for all Great Crossing nurses to follow.