Hall, Kitterman keep FDMS students healthy

While students are in school, they may feel under the weather or need to take medication to keep them healthy.

At the Fort Dodge Middle School, it’s the responsibility of two people to make sure the health of all students is maintained while classes are in session.

Both Lisa Hall and Mary Kitterman work as school nurses at FDMS.

Hall has been with the school district for a little more than 10 years, while Kitterman joined the staff more than 20 years ago.

Combined, Hall and Kitterman have many responsibilities.

“At this school, there are over 1,100 students and 832 conditions listed, including asthma, seizures and other less-common conditions,” Hall said. “Everyone with a condition has an individual health plan which explains what treatment they need.”

Kitterman said the nurse’s office also handles scheduling of different health-related events.

“We handle physicals and screening for immunizations,” she said. “Recently we scheduled a tetanus, diptheria and pertussis clinic for students who had recommendations.”

The pair also deals with sports-related injuries and emergencies, such as if a student has a seizure while class is in session.

Hall said there’s also much interaction with other faculty and staff members.

“We also do referrals to different doctors,” she said. “The kids will come in and say they’re sick, and it’s our job to see whether they should stay in school or if there are symptoms of something more serious.”

In an average day, the nurse’s office sees between 90-115 students.

Kitterman said they also encourage healthy lifestyles among the students.

“We try to see that they’re eating normally,” she said. “We make sure they’re not drinking so much pop or eating candy.”

Hall described the nurse’s office as a “mini-clinic.”

“We can resolve symptoms and give over-the-counter medication,” she said. “If they’re experiencing serious symptoms we have them see a doctor.”

The nurses also divide their time between the middle school and the high school. Several times a week, one of them will go to the upperclassmen building.

Both nurses enjoy working with students.

“We have fun with the kids,” Kitterman said. “We get to help them, and most of them are really appreciative of what we do.”

Hall, who used to work in a hospital before she came to the school district, said there are major differences between the two.

“You’re in charge and you set up everything the way you want it to be,” she said. “It’s nice to be independent and be able to make your own decisions.”

Kitterman agreed, and added that she enjoys being in the new middle school building.

“We have three sinks instead of one and both of us are in the same room,” she said. “It’s also easier to find your way around.”