Scott Brooks is used to medical crises, but typically "the crisis is much different" in his job as the school nurse at Pioneer Trail Elementary School as opposed to his previous positions in firefighting and EMS.
Brooks noted his past jobs — including serving with the Jefferson City Fire Department and 10 years as the Holts Summit fire chief — Brooks said he generally only saw children on the worst days of their lives, times of tragedy.
Now, while the 53-year-old Jefferson Citian is still helping people, "if no one's cried, and no one's thrown up, it's been a good day."
"This is much more of a relief," he added. He doesn't want to make light, though, of children's pain when they often think the slightest bump or scrape feels like the worst day of their lives; he said he never tells his student patients a problem is no big deal.
"They just want (you) to listen to what they have to say," he said.
He's been the full-time school nurse at Pioneer Trail since last November. He averages 40-50 student patients a day, though he had more than 70 in one day last year.
Students come to his office with a variety of needs and ailments. In the course of this 1-hour interview, he saw two students with stomach aches, two others who received ice packs, four more who came to take their prescribed medications and another student who also came to him with a stomach ache but vomited in the nurse's office.
"I had no idea what this whole thing was about," he said of a job that had never been on his professional radar. "I thought I would never find something I loved as much as being a firefighter."
After leaving firefighting and EMS, he went back to school and is still working on getting his RN certification; he's an LPN at the moment. When the Jefferson City Public Schools approached him about being a school nurse, he gave it a try, and decided, "Hey, I like this. This is fun."
As far as he knows, he also happens to be the first male school nurse in the district. He coaches football at Pioneer Trail, too.
In addition to actually treating students as nurse, much of his day is also occupied by managing records: eye and health screenings, allergies immunizations — being aware of any healthcare issues that might affect a student's ability to learn.
He has three grown children of his own — a son and two daughters, who've given him three boys and a girl as grandchildren. Behind and above his desk is a "Proud Army Dad" plaque and a framed picture of one of his daughters in uniform. There's also a fire helmet emblazoned with "JC Jays" and a firefighter poster too.
Around the school nurse office, there are all the items that come with the profession — cotton balls, face masks and a big box of saltine crackers for children who need a snack. Sticky-pad notes on his computer screen with writing in Arabic are there to help him communicate with some students who are still learning English.
There's also a big bucket of Clorox wipes on a counter. "I wipe down the place a couple times a day," he said, noting that the busy season of colds and flu is approaching.
He said there's never a dull moment in "the daily parade," of which "the recess demolition derby" is part. "I am amazed how many scrapes you can get."