Partners in Care

July 19, 2018


By Maria Hutsick

Maria Hutsick, MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS, is Head Athletic Trainer at Medfield (Mass.) High School and former Director of Sports Medicine at Boston University. She is a past president of the College Athletic Trainers' Society and was honored with an NATA Athletic Trainer Service Award in 2010. She can be reached at: [email protected].


I am always surprised to hear how many athletic trainers don’t have a good working relationship with their school’s nurses. When I came to the high school level, I was excited to meet the school nurse and work with her.

Now, we have a great communication system set up. In general, I take care of all orthopedic injuries, and she takes care of the illnesses, diabetics, etc. We meet every day to go over what is happening that day.

When it comes to concussions, she writes up the tally for the state each year. Together, we keep records of who had a sports-related concussion and who had one from other mechanisms. Because I don’t get to school until noon, the nurse does the daily checklist of symptoms for the concussed students in the mornings and lets the guidance counselors and teachers know what the students can do. I let the front office know if I recommended to the parents to keep a concussed athlete at home for a day. That way, the absence is excused.  

With other injuries, I text or e-mail the nurse from the field when an injury occurs so she can write up the report. I then call the parents and go over the status of the injured athlete and let the nurse know any updates. This has resulted in mutual respect and cooperation.

I also communicate with our middle school nurse, as the middle school is just next door to the high school. I cover middle school football, and the players come to see me if injured, which I then relay to the nurse.

Because of the relationship we’ve developed, the students, nurses, and I all benefit. We can give better care due to the open lines of communication.

My advice if you don’t have a good relationship with your school nurse, go see them and talk things out. Let them know you respect their role and want to work together. This is especially true if you are new or the previous athletic trainer and the nurse were not on the same page. Act as a professional and demand the same. Remember, we are all aiming for the same results. Keeping a line of open communication and respect will result in good things.

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