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School Nurses Can Be Mental Health 'Detectives' But They Need Help

This story is part of our NPR Ed series on mental health in schools.

Patricia Tolson has some visitors.

Two 5-year-old girls, best friends, hold hands in her office at Van Ness Elementary School in Washington, D.C., one complaining she doesn't feel well. Tolson, the school nurse, asks, "How long has your stomach been hurting?"

It just started, but this little one says her head hurt last night, too. Tolson knows she has a history of fevers, so she checks her temperature and asks her more questions: What did she eat? Has she gone to the bathroom? Does her head still hurt?


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