Unpredictable. Every morning, Joanne Garlejo comes into work not knowing what to expect. Her job? The school nurse.
Garlejo became a school nurse because she wanted to pursue a career that allowed her to use her medical experience while still working for the Palo Alto Unified School District.“[Gunn] was the school that I was assigned to when I applied for a nursing position,” she said.
Garlejo’s work experience differs from that of many others. “I don’t really have a typical day,” she said. “I come and don’t know what to expect.”
The number of students she sees each day differs. “I don’t know how many kids will be walking in that day,” she said. “It could be two students, sometimes it’s 20 students. It just depends on the type of day and season.”
Her favorite part of being the school nurse is meeting a diverse group of students every year. “The best part of my job is getting to know the students,” she said. “You get to know and meet the students that are here. [The group of students] changes every year but not every day. I get to meet different students and at the same time use my nursing skills as well.”
Garlejo has students come in for numerous reasons. One reason is because they are not feeling well, and the other is that they injured themselves coming to or at school.
Garlejo also has other tasks that keep her occupied throughout the day. “I do have work that I put aside to work on every day,” she said. “There’s extra work that I’ve been given to do like field trips, getting doctors notes and following up on them.”
Garlejo has advice for students who feel that they need the health office. “Don’t be afraid to come in,” she said. “I feel like some students are afraid to come in here. I know it looks like it’s closed but there are reasons why I keep the door closed. If there’s a student in here, I try to keep the environment as comfortable as possible.”