As a resident of Ocean City, former City Council member and a school nurse at the primary school for 20 years, Alice Wolf has known some of the children there all their lives. She also has watched the job of school nurse become increasingly complex.

“It’s not just the medical issues,” said Wolf, who returned to college to get a master’s degree in education. “It’s also the laws that affect a child’s everyday life in education. It’s important for me to know how I can help a child.”

Her job today includes working on Individual Education Plans for children with special needs and how they can best be accommodated in the classroom. She said there are more children with health issues who attend regular school today and asthma is a chronic concern.

“You have to keep your skills up and you also have to understand what happens to the child in the classroom,” she said.

She has had students who are multiply handicapped, and if they are hospitalized or homebound, she makes sure they get their classwork.

“My goal is to make them as independent as I can, so that when they go on to middle school they are prepared,” she said, citing Colin as an example. She said last spring they decided he did not have to come to see her every day for his medications. She just fills his pill boxes.

Wolf said the school nurse is available to the staff if they have health-related questions, and she is acutely aware that many families today are struggling and can’t afford to take their children to the doctor or emergency room, so she becomes the default family medical plan.

“I’ve butterflied many a cut that could have used a stitch or two, but I know the family didn’t have the money,” she said.

Contact Diane D’Amico:

609-272-7241

More than 30 years’ experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines in Illinois, Colorado, Texas and New Jersey and 1985 winner of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association’s John Murphy Award for copy editing.