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Henry Street Story Contest Winner

What I Didn't Know

MacGill Nurse Supplies is honored to share the impactful poem contributed by Henry Street Story contest winner Tessa McIlraith. As the winner, Tessa’s contest submission is featured on our blog and she receives the coveted prize: a Nurse Mates® Ultimate Signature Traveler with a Pediatric Dermatology DDXDeck.

This February and March, Tessa, along with many other school nurses, contributed a story to our most recent Henry Street Stories contest. We are grateful for all these wonderful, inspiring stories and for the opportunity to offer connection within the school nurse community.


What I Didn’t Know

By Tessa McIlraith

I didn't know how many times I would hear a trembling voice telling me their child had cancer.

I didn't know I'd be cleaning your self-inflicted wounds and would be the only one to say I'm glad you showed up today.

I didn't know you would overdose and die.

I didn't know I'd be the voice for your family when a new diagnosis changed your life forever.

I didn't know I'd be the first to know you were expecting and the first to share your joy.

I didn't know I would be the relationship expert.

I didn't know how much your parent would yell at me.

I didn't know how much I would help you breathe and help you walk into class...one more time.

I didn't know I'd be the place you come to cry, to laugh, to just be.

I didn't know you would get hit by a car.

I didn't know how many times I would have to tell you that you cannot play in your last playoff game.

I didn't know how much strength I had.

What I did know...

Is that you matter!

You are so brave.

You are seen and heard.

You are missed.

You change my life every day!


Your School Nurse


The MacGill School Nurse Supplies team is grateful to Tessa McIlraith for this inspiring, touching poem and to all of our Henry Street contributors.

More Henry Street Stories

Tessa joins many others from the school nurse community who have contributed touching, engaging, even funny stories, including:


More about Henry Street

“A Long Way from Henry Street” is a two-volume collection of stories written by school nurses and published in 2003 and 2012. The series gets its name from the Henry Street Settlement, a humanitarian organization that funded the first school nurse in 1902. For a free copy of volume 2, add item #72012 to your next order.

Watch our blog and social media or subscribe to our emails for more Henry Street stories and other informative, interesting content written just for the school nurse community.

We’d love to hear from you! Submit stories to [email protected]. For story inspiration, visit our blog.

The promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social media or marketing platform.

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