At lunchtime at Shakelford Elementary School in Waxahachie, school nurse Linda Horn puts her 46 years of experience to work.

This week, students returned for the first week of school, and so did the coughs, sniffles and sneezes.

"Their germs have been dispersed for the summer but they get back together and they tend to get sick again.," Horn said.

By the afternoon, she's already seen a handful of patients. She treats a boy's itchy nose, but suspects an ulterior motive.

"I feel like I pinpoint their fakes pretty well now because I have some experience with that," Horn said.

A lot has changed over the course of her career since she graduated with a degree in nursing from Baylor in 1970.

Horn says she now keeps track of more medications and sees more allergies and sugary drinks than ever before.
Parents have always been busy, but now it's much more common to have both parents working.

Linda Horn examines a child.
Linda Horn examines a child.

"They are often times both working, and I think that often times the stress at home can be brought to school," Horn said. "So we try our best to help these kids feel safe and feel comfortable so that they can do the best at school."

To keep them in school, it's her job to stay on top of medical issues. One young girl comes in every morning to have her blood sugar tested.

"108 that's good," Horn said while reading off the results Tuesday.

Every day she uses her medical expertise, but often times she says a sympathetic ear can heal as well as any medicine.

"We have to really listen to what they are saying because sometimes they don't want to really tell you what it is that's bothering them and it may take several times talking to them for them to be able to share what's bothering them," she said.

So what does the veteran nurse prescribe to parent's with young children? The best advice, a full night sleep and a healthy diet -- two tools to ensure your child stays in the class and out of the nurses office -- no matter how friendly that nurse may be.