A Day in the Life: A Photo Essay of the Wisconsin School Nurses and the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Project: 

The main goal of the project is to capture a “day in the life” of a school nurse, to document their actions, responsibilities, and ultimately the emotions especially related to managing the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It is our desire to raise the visibility of the school nurse and showcase their humanity.  Just like healthcare providers working in traditional healthcare settings, school nurses have been working nights and weekends trying to complete the work so that students can stay healthy and safe.  Many of these school nurses do this work with no additional pay and no public recognition.  The goal of this project is to document this work and put it on public display so that the work of school nurses can be validated and honored. 

Another goal of the project is to give back to the school nurses.  This project will provide the school nurses with a tangible piece of history that documents this time.  The hope for the project is that decades from now, when school nurses think back to this time in their life, they can see themselves reflected in the photographs and (even if they are not the subject in the photo) can feel as though their experience of being a school nurse during this pandemic is captured in the images. 

Schools and districts within Wisconsin are invited to participate in the project. 

The Photographer: 

Teresa DuChateau, DNP, RN is a registered nurse and school nurse consultant.  Teresa is the co-owner of School Health Associates.  Teresa has been an amateur photographer since she was a child.  She has a love of school health and photography and felt compelled to combine these two passions into a project that can shed light on the impactful, tireless work of school nurses and create a photographic record of this historical time period.

Selecting the Photos:

After each visit to a school, Teresa will share the photos with the school nurse and ask that the school nurse identify three to five pictures that they feel most accurately capture their role as a school nurse and the emotions they have felt during this time.  Teresa will also review the photos and select three to five photos that she feels speak the most to the role of the school nurse.  These six to ten photos will then be displayed on the website with a short essay describing the school nurse, their practice, and some thoughts on what these past three years have been like for them. 

The Final Project: 

We are exploring a few options related to how the images will be displayed and shared with the public and are seeking input from school nurses on how they would like to interact with the photographs.

Some ideas that we are considering are:

A webinar where the selected photos would be unveiled and the school nurses who participated in the project would discuss the photos they selected that they fell best represent what it has been like be a school nurse during the pandemic.

Sharing the photos at the 2023 Wisconsin School Nurse Association conference as a breakout session where attendees could learn more about the project and hear from the nurses that participated in the project.


Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of photos will be taken?

  • The photos will be candid.  Teresa’s intent is to be as inconspicuous as possible and document the school nurses practice through photographs.  The photos will not be staged but will capture the school nurse in “action”.  Photo lighting or backdrops will not be used.  The photos are meant to capture the emotion and activities of the school nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How long will you be present in the school(s)/districts?

  • Ideally Teresa would like to spend the entire school day with the school nurse but is open to a shorter time frame if that is necessary.  Depending on travel requirements, a school may not be included in the project if Teresa’s time in the school is limited to less than 4 hours. 

If photos of me and my school are included in the project, can I review and approve the photos before they are published?

  • You will have an opportunity to review the photos before they are published.  Teresa will share the photos with the school nurse and ask that the school nurse to select three to five pictures that they feel most accurately capture their role as a school nurse and the emotions they have felt during this time.  Teresa will also review the photos and select three to five photos that she feels speak the most to the role of the school nurse.  If you object to any photo from your school, the photo will not be included.

Will photos that were from earlier in the pandemic taken by me or someone else, be included in the project?

  • No, we will not be collecting photos taken by other people.

How will the student’s privacy be maintained?  (What about FERPA and HIPAA?):

  • Teresa is a registered nurse and understands the laws governing student confidentiality.  Teresa will keep confidential any information seen or heard during the time in the school(s)/district.  Teresa will not be viewing any written student records nor student health records. Teresa will sign any required confidentiality or other school district forms and will complete a background check if required.

Will there be a waiver that I or my school will need to sign?

  • You will be required to obtain all necessary permissions based on your school district policy and procedure.  If you are inviting Teresa to your school, Teresa assumes you have obtained the necessary permissions. A Photo Authorization and Release Form will need to be signed by all individuals appearing in the photo(s). 

Will students be included in the photos?

  • Teresa will do her best to not include identifiable features of any students who may be included in the photos.  If any students are identifiable in the photos the photos will either be deleted.

Will I receive copies of the photos that are taken in my school(s)/district?

  • No, copies of the pictures selected to be included in the project will not be given to the school(s)/district for use outside of the project.

What if my school does not have any mitigation methods being implemented?

  • Schools do not have to be implementing mitigation methods to be included in the project.  The intent is to capture photos of the school nurse’s practice during the time of COVID-19; this is going to look different at every school.  (Note: Any required mitigation methods that are in place will be followed.)

For more information on the project, please contact Teresa

Updated: January 13, 2022