A place where the door is always open


Photo provided by Lia Blackard

School Nurse, Carolyn Holland hard at work in her office

Lia Blackard, Editor-In-Chief

Have you ever gotten a headache at school? Nosebleed? Scraped your knee? Needed someone to talk to? Ever needed a nurse? Well, you are in luck! R.J. Reynolds has an amazing nurse on campus every Wednesday. Carolyn Holland is the school’s nurse and her office is located in Student Services on the first floor. 

Holland grew up with a father who was in the Navy, causing her to move around a lot as a child. 

“I moved everywhere, so I did not go to college here in North Carolina,” Holland said. “I went to Sacred Heart University, it’s in Connecticut.” 

By going to Sacred Heart University, Holland could attend Yale Hospital for her clinicals in nursing because of its close proximity. This gave her many opportunities to see different procedures that she would never have seen if she had gone elsewhere. Holland has been a nurse for eight years and it has been a roller coaster. 

“I started out in type one diabetics [nursing] when I was in college,” Holland said. “And then I went after college into cancer units and did that for three years. I went to Hospice for three years and did two years at the hospital in the ICU lung section during COVID.”

A few months ago, however, Holland became a school nurse. She believes that exploring different areas of the medical field makes someone a better nurse because they are more equipped to understand different things. 

At Reynolds, Holland makes sure every student is up to date with their immunizations and physicals. She also does a wide range of other things for students.

“I’m here just triaging whatever comes in or however I can help the kids,” Holland said. “I realize that not everybody has a primary doctor and not everybody has the opportunity for any kind of therapist or an open ear. I like to stress that I am here for all of the broad spectrums of those things and clearly for first aid.”

Holland rotates between two other schools, Sedge Garden Elementary and Konnoak Elementary. Although she agrees that only having a nurse on campus one day a week is not ideal, Holland is nearby and can get here quickly in case of an emergency.

“Obviously a school like here where there are over 1,700 kids, it would definitely benefit to have one or two nurses,” Holland said. “I always stress that if something were to pop up, the reason why they have the other two schools close to here is so that I could get here if need be.” 

Holland hopes that one nurse will dedicate themself to knowing one population of a school. She believes that the pandemic left hospital nurses burnt out and are now exploring other opportunities in nursing such as school nursing. 

“I feel like there is a movement happening right now where nurses are really seeking that work life balance and I would hope that we could increase it so that nurses could be here all five days of the week,” Holland said. 

Holland would like the Reynolds students to know that her door is always open. 

“There is no door, the door is always open,” Holland said. “If there are questions that you want to ask your doctor, but maybe you’re waiting for your physical or you just don’t know who to ask or maybe you don’t feel comfortable talking to your parents about it, I would hope that that is a resource that I could be here for.” 

Teamwork is stressed between Holland, the counselors, and members of the administration. They have a goal to create an environment that is secluded so kids feel comfortable coming and talking to them. 

If you need medical help, have questions, or need someone to talk to, Holland is the right person for you. All of her experience nursing and after moving more than 10 times as a kid has given her new perspectives and been in so many different situations. She understands it all. Next time you are in need, go see Holland in Student Services.