My Why - Madeline Bennett, School Nurse

April 3, 2023

Topic: My Why

It’s no surprise that Madeline Bennett turned out to be a nurse. She is the oldest of five  daughters and was the caretaker to her younger sisters. She spent a lot of her youth looking after her siblings, playing the role of mom. But Madeline also spent lots of time in the hospital, missing days of school because of severe asthma and peanut allergies. “I’m a natural caretaker and wanted to be either a teacher or a nurse when I grew up. I loved the nurses that took care of me as a child and working as a nurse in a school gives me the best of both worlds,” said Madeline. 

In fact, Madeline is not only the school nurse, but she’s become the cheerleader for the students that come to her office. “I want them to know they have someone in their corner…. They have a friend….someone to believe in them when they say they have a headache or stomach ache.” said Madeline. 

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in nursing at North Park University in 2020, she worked at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park as a maternal/fetal nurse for one year. “I needed a job change but still wanted to work with children. District 21 had an opening and the location was closer to my house. The district is in a sweet spot. It’s close to the city and has lots of diversity. Additionally, our district has become a hub for kids coming to this country,” said Madeline. 

Madeline started in 2021-22, the first year that students were back in classes from remote learning. “It was a crazy period of trying to balance safety and normalcy with the students. I wanted the parents to know they could entrust their children with me,” said Madeline. And she’s not just building relationships with the parents, but with the children too. She always tries to say kind things to them when they visit her office. Things like, “I love your shirt!” or “You are so brave!” as she administers medication or interacts with students. Sometimes, she just gives them a smile and sends them back to their class.