A Charleston County School District (CCSD) nurse’s actions are being praised by Gordon G. Garrett Academy of Technology Principal Dale Metzger. Nurse Mamie Rader’s intervention recently led to a student being diagnosed with Diabetic Ketoacidosis.
Teacher Amy Brunson took her student seriously when he complained of fatigue and a leg cramp that kept him up all night. She sent him to the clinic to see Nurse Rader. Nurse Rader’s training and instincts went into overdrive.
“My mind went to hydration and as we talked he commented that he was thirsty and had to use the restroom a lot,” said Rader. “That was a signal to me that this could be serious.” Rader called the student’s mother who came immediately to the school to take him to the emergency room. “The staff at the hospital couldn’t measure his blood sugar levels because they were so high,” said Rader. “Had the teacher not followed her gut instinct and insisted he come to the clinic things could have gone differently.”
Rader added that it was a good thing the student had the leg cramp because he may not have come to the clinic if he was simply tired. “Nurse Rader is one of the finest school nurses that I have ever had the pleasure to work with,” said Metzger. “She is caring and compassionate with both staff and students while being pragmatic enough to not allow a student to take advantage of her kindness. She goes beyond the call with regard to school and staff initiatives and does a great job of following through to make certain that the students get the support they need, both at home as well as at school.”
The importance of school nurses
“Mamie has been a health hero for all of our students no matter where her assignment takes place,” said Ellen Nitz, Director of Nursing Services for CCSD.
“She has worked diligently throughout her school nurse career helping children increase their knowledge and become more independent in caring for their chronic illness.” Rader was a chef for many years and didn’t decide to go to nursing school until she was 46 years old. One day she came upon a house that she was drawn to and envisioned it being the perfect place for a health retreat. However, one thing was holding her back from that idea; she had no medical training. Rader enrolled in nursing school and worked at the MUSC Children’s Hospital until joining the CCSD in 2005.
Rader ran the clinic at Edmund A. Burns Elementary School and has worked in clinics across the district, mostly at the elementary school level. She also created and ran a Kaleidoscope Nursing Program for the District. Her time at Garrett has brought her career full-circle. She is now seeing the very students she treated at Burns. “I was never able to have children, so it’s very satisfying to be in the schools with these students,” said Rader. “Year after year I get to watch them mature and grow. It’s very fulfilling to be able to help, especially the students in our Title 1 schools.”
Rader said she loves her career. “We should be careful not to undervalue the role of a school nurse,” said Rader. “We’re not just handing out bandages. We’re the first line in recognizing chronic and potentially dangerous illnesses.” According to Nitz, Rader’s kind and caring nature eventually wins over the most skeptical students and families.
“Mamie started a running club for young asthmatics partnering with local pulmonologists,” said Nitz. “She has trained students and staff with lifesaving CPR/AED and First Aid. Nurse Rader is constantly looking to improve each and every young life that she encounters.” “Nurse Rader’s intervention was nothing short of life-saving,” Metzger added. “She is a dynamic addition to the Garrett Falcon Family.”
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