[STAFF EDITORIAL] Health department expansions provide much needed resource reinforcement


Lucy Benson

Susanna Short gets assistance in the health department from new nurse, counselor and more.

The new adjustments to the health department are providing a much needed resource, both in the lives of students and Upper School guidance counseler Susanna Short.

Starting with the opening party for the health office Feb. 19, two nurses are now available to students. One of them, Kristy Finn, is a trained nurse and will be on campus Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday each week, helping and diagnosing students who come in with fevers, strep, and other types of sickness.

The other, Julia Karschney, is still training to be a nurse and will serve as the health assistant, coming in Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. She will not be able to diagnose students, but she can provide resources such as medicine and access to the infirmary.

Before this point, Finn had been working in the Upper School just one day each week, and there were no other nurses who students could reach out to during the day. Students were accustomed to either staying in classes while suffering from sickness, or leaving if they couldn’t be there, harming their ability to function well while sick. While there was an infirmary, students generally didn’t know where it was and how they could use it if needed. These limited resources caused students to have very few options in the case that they were sick, and ulti

mately prevented students from being able to fully participate in their education.


The role of the new health office is an incredibly necessary shift. Now, students can go speak to either Finn or Karschney, who will help them make the decision about whether to go home or stay at school. As school nurses, Finn and Karschney will be able to put students’  symptoms in Veracross for their parents to see, helping facilitate informed communication with parents in the event that a student needs to go home. If a student doesn’t need to go home, Finn and Karschney can give them access to the infirmary or medicine, helping them to even

tually return to class and miss as little school as possible.


Diane Huang








Short is also going to see her department go through a much needed expansion with the imminent hiring of a second counselor.

For students, an additional counselor will provide them with the flexibility and ease to get counseling when needed. Right now, it is difficult to schedule meetings with Short because her schedule is so full, often leaving students without access to the help they need. At this school especially, due to its stressful course load and environment, students must be able to have access to resources that help their mental health. Now, with the advent of a second counselor, students will finally gain those incredibly necessary resources, increasing their ability to function well during school.

Short, between running all Wellness classes, having frequent meetings with students and administrators alike, leading Peer Helpers, and pursuing connection with pr

actitioners outside of school, has little to no free time during the school day. For her, a second counselor will mean more free time during her day, allowing her to eat lunch regularly and take care of her own mental health.


In addition, more free time for Short will allow her to develop other programs in the health department. Specifically, with the new physical health program, she will be able to work more closely with Finn and Karschney to strengthen mental, reproductive, and adolescent health resources. The health office is hoping to expand its jurisdiction to those areas, focusing less on the mental side of it and more on the physical aspect, but they need to be able to work with Short or another counselor to do so. Physical health resources for these areas have been overlooked, but with fewer demands on Short, they will hopefully be able to grow as well.

As students prepare for these changes in the community, however, it is incredibly important that they have an open mind.

Students have been used to taking care of themselves in the case that they are sick because they are used to not having health resources at school. Now that Finn and Karschney are working here, however, they should make sure to take advantage of the assistance and resources they can provide, and increase their ability to stay healthy throughout the school year.

Students also need to make an effort to include the new counselor in the community, allowing them to define their role as a counselor even if it’s different from Short’s role. The first step for students to do so is by offering to volunteer on interview panels for the candidate or tour candidates around the school. This way, more students will be able to have a voice in who is eventually hired, and will help find a candidate who will work well in the community. Another thing for students to do is reach out to the new counselor and Short equally, rather than favoring Short, and recognize that different people will have different styles of counseling.

This year has hosted many beneficial changes, and the expansion of health resources is just one of many. But like any other change, students need to embrace it and take advantage of its potential.