GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It was another busy morning at the nurse's office at Gaston Point Elementary School in Gulfport. One student complained of a tummy ache. Another girl came in to get a cut on her foot checked. As a school nurse, Jo Johns does more than just bandage cuts and bruises.
"We have broken limbs we have to do. We have teachers with heart attacks. I may spend one whole day on a DHS abuse situation," said Johns. "I can't imagine doing anything else now. I love this job."
For eight years now, Nurse Jo has been going above and beyond her mission of making sure students are healthy, so they can stay in school. She runs a clinic, offering physicals, as well as drug and mental health counseling. She uses the Medicaid reimbursement money to upgrade the school clinic.
Nurse Jo also collect clothes for needy students.
"Our fifth grade graduation is coming up and that's kind of a dressy time. So I try to intervene early to make sure that students feel like they're looking their best," said Johns.
She even washes dirty clothes for children who are worried about their appearance.
"I have a washer and dryer and when we do laundry, then I'm teaching them at the same time," she said.
To thank Nurse Jo for her compassion and dedication, on Wednesday, the children surprised her in the hallway.
"Happy Nurses Day Mrs. Jo!" they shouted.
They presented her with a signed poster, a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and a song:
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray. You'll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don't take Mrs. Jo away."
"When I get hurt, she helps me and she sends me home," said one girl.
"She gave me medicine when I was sick and it made me feel a lot better," said another girl.
"This is my family. God put me here. I feel blessed to be here," said Johns.
"Happy Nurses Day!" the students shouted.
More than 450 nurses are currently working in Mississippi schools. During the first half of this school year, they saw nearly 270,000 students and 11,000 teachers and staff.