Campus Nurse: Smith loves providing care

Staff Report

Amid the signature pink flamingos and knitting needles sits Laina Smith, Transylvania’s campus nurse, who brings a blast of personality to the stereotypically scary school nurse position.

Smith, or as some students call her, “Campus Mom,” is a well of entertaining stories, but she is also a source for health knowledge. Anything can happen in her office, medical emergency or the medicinal chat.

Smith has been the campus nurse at Transylvania University for 14 years, but her career started before she popped into the Bubble. Smith was originally a journalism major but switched to nursing school later because, to her, it was a more interesting path to take. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Eastern Kentucky University in 2004.

Throughout her career, Smith’s medical résumé has included time in the level-one trauma unit at the Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., in addition to working in the emergency room at John Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore.

“I’ve done a little bit of everything,” Smith said.

While the nurse’s office doesn’t resemble a trauma unit, at least on a daily basis, Smith sees her fair share of drama, and when things are slower she enjoys getting to know the students.

According to Smith, Lexington is rated No. 1 in the nation for the most allergies, and that takes up a lot of her job, in addition to seasonal colds and the flu.

“Everybody brings their own brand of germs from home,” said Smith.

Because of this, Smith encourages students, faculty and staff alike to wash their hands to prevent sickness and contagions.

Smith has three children* of her own and relates well to college students. She can often be seen advising students on day-to-day life between handing out medicine.

“People often come down to ask how they look in (a particular outfit), and I tell them,” said Smith.

Smith said that not having a parental push in college can be hard for some, a gap that she is happy to fill when she is needed the most. Every case is different from another, she said, which adds a variety to her job that she enjoys.

“It’s like a puzzle, because you don’t know what’s wrong,” Smith said.

When not donning a stethoscope, a tongue depressor or handing out those supplies that come with her position, Smith enjoys spending time with her children and her dog. When she has spare time to herself she enjoys knitting.

Answering the question on the tip of many students’ tongue, Smith explained the many flamingos decorating her office and attributed her love of them to her grandparents’ yard.

“I always remember those (flamingos) growing up,” said Smith.

Editors Note: After publication The Ramber was informed that Smith has four children, not three as originally stated in the article. The Rambler apologizes for this mistake.


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