24 November 2023

Mélissa, school nurse at the Collège des Roises, in Piney (Aube).


It is a delicate, sensitive and touching dive into the heart of a college located in a rural town in Aube. Without comment but with great finesse, the director Delphine Dhilly closely follows the daily work of Melissa, the school nurse at the Collège des Roises, in Piney. For information, France has 7,700, or one nurse for 1,600 students…

Every day in her office, the rest room or at the bend of a corridor, Melissa treats, with her soft voice and her wise advice, the little sores, the big sorrows and the anxieties that seize boys and girls who live more or less their adolescence.

She identifies sensitive cases, the dangers that await some more fragile teenagers. She advises, soothes, encourages. “We almost all remember this place where we went to take a breather, when we had a stomach ache, or pretend that we had a headache.says the director. We often remembered that there was the infirmary, one or two beds to lie down on, and the nurse to talk to. »

Finally let go

In fact, as Delphine Dhilly rightly points out, “the nurse sees and listens to what neither the teachers, nor the parents, nor even the family doctor, sometimes, can detect. Family violence, harassment, psychological suffering, deficiencies of all kinds…” Students can speak without fear, finally let go, free themselves from too heavy a weight. Melissa’s office becomes a refuge where, during a consultation, a precious face-to-face, even those who do not fit into the boxes of a rigid school system can speak freely.

Without comments therefore, but with a fluid and effective editing, this documentary multiplies the testimonies. Most often alone in front of the student, sometimes alongside the CPE for certain more sensitive cases or in front of worried parents, Melissa listens, talks, treats, reassures or warns.

“I thought I understood that there were little worries. Can you explain to me ? », she says to a boy who, put in confidence, will tell his problems. In front of a group of students, after the projection of a video on puberty, Melissa launches: “My goal is to teach you things you don’t usually hear at home or see on TV: sex, acne, body changes, teenage crisis … »

Heartaches, stomachaches, loose backs, anxieties, the infirmary is the place to come for treatment, to confide in and, finally, to let go of teenagers who we guess are both fragile and curious. “It’s always bad when you don’t say things”, Melissa whispers to one of her young patients. But, in front of her, tongues are finally untied. And it feels good.

school nurse, documentary by Delphine Dhilly (Fr., 2022, 55 min).

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