No support

  1. Hi all!
    I am a medical assistant working at a middle school (we work under the district nurse, who is usually at a different location). Our RN is new, young and great to work with. We work for a different company that the school has contacts with. So there are many different opinions on how things should be done. This school is low poverty with low performance scores. In the begging of the year I of course go through the company's orientation. Then when I get to the school they tell me their rules. Like most of us working in school, teachers don't write passes, or try and do our job. Recently I feel like I get no support from staff.

    Due to the recent flu outbreak being at the highest level and having deaths in Ohio due to the flu. We have had several students testing positive for the flu. Of course parents still send them to school. I had a student with an 104 temp that sat in my one cot dirty room they provide me with for 3 hours because I couldn't get a hold of the Mom. Resulting in me getting a fever and calling of sick for 2 days. (And I'm only offered 5 days PTO! On top of not getting paid for any of the vacation days ie: Christmas and spring break, not to mention I took a huge pay cut with this job, my mistake, I know). So due to flu crisis I have been asking parents to pick up kids who don't feel well who have a low grade fever 99+ as a precaution and advise them to make sure they are fever free for 24 hours before returning to school. Of course I sent this student home, Mom told the recommendations and told her she should not come in the following day. But you guessed it she came in the following day. Temp higher then it was the day before but still in the low grade area. The principal called me to tell me she was at school and put it on me to take care of it. (Which I feel is not appropriate, since I don't make the rules and it's a recommendation) Mom (who tells me she was a nurse) was pissed, told me she is not picking up her kid and I never told her about the recommendation, (which I did and if she is a nurse she claims to be she should probably be aware of this) and I even gave the student a paper with this information about being fever free. She then proceeds to basically tell me how I shouldn't even be working in the school and I have no right to make a diagnosis (which I did not, but we are taking all precautions to not spread illness, specially with the flu outbreak). Basically she made me so upset I started to cry in front of another sick student in my office because she was saying some awful things to me. Which this I can get past. We all have had this moment I'm sure.

    The thing that makes me so frustrated is that the administration and staff never support me. There is no procedure or policy in place for the school district regarding illness, fevers or outbreak emergencies. I feel the principle should have stepped in or at least help me out. Our district nurse and I have been trying to hard to get communication out to parents and staff with little results. The company that I work for that the school contracts with does not seem to inform the school what my job duties are and go over rules and regulations well and won't say much because they are scared to loose their contact. I've seen several schools board of education have policies for this that parents are made aware of and several principles who step in and help me out.

    Basically I just want to know what or if your schools that you work for have policies? Does the administration or staff help you our or back you up? Any suggestions? There have been other circumstances I have been in that I do not feel comfortable with and I am just at a loss of what to do. (Yes, I am actively seeking a new job)

    Also to all the school nurses and health staff that work in schools I applaud you so much!
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Mango Juice
    Sorry that you are in this kind of situation. My suggestions were going to be to talk to your nurse leader and your local health department, but you have already done both. Sorry I don't have advice, but I wanted to respond so you know that we are here for you
  4. by   caliotter3
    Sounds as if the problem is bigger than your pay grade to handle on your own with no support. Best wishes on finding a better job situation soon.
  5. by   halohg
    Sorry for this situation, you are not alone. And even those districts that do have policies and those with administrative support have days like this and certainly parents like this. This is why those that think all we do is hand out bandaids give us such a good laugh. All you can do is practice great hand washing techniques, wear a mask if need be, and understand many parents are sending their sick children simply because they do not have any other option. Educate each and every time and assist with creating a plan for the working parent. Sending out a mass mailing during an outbreak may help for those that actually read it. It's going to get worse in the next month before better, good luck.
  6. by   WineRN
    This sounds like a complicated mess

    If they don't have any policies/procedures regarding illnesses in this day and age, it's because the upper administration just doesn't care. And that includes your district nurse. There has to be basic rules like Fever free for 24 hours, vomit free for 12, no un diagnosed rashes etc. Are you sure there aren't any district level policies? If not this needs to be your district nurses main goal.

    With the area you are in, parents probably CAN'T take off to get their kids unless it is a life or death thing.

    But that being said, no matter what either your admin or your nurse needs to up their game and support you more. The principal should be having the custodians hit the rooms with influenza to make sure every surface area is cleaned, handling the parents who still send in their little ones after being told not to, and sending out additional notices if needed themselves. And your district nurse should be handling the creation of policies. You shouldn't be reaching out to other principals to enforce policies you don't have.

    I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. Try to find a district that hires their own health aides instead of through an agency. We hire our own and they receive all the same benefits that we have.
  7. by   Farawyn
    I have no advice, either. I'm lucky to have so much support it is not even funny.
    Please let us know how this unfolds.
    Are you in a union?
  8. by   Maria MA
    Our district nurse is actually trying to do as much as possible. She is new and started just a couple months ago. (The nurse before that did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING). The thing that is a problem is that we basically have a road block from administration when communicating things. Since we are contracted it's not like we can go to the board and say "hey this needs to be done". I feel, and maybe I am wrong, the company I work for needs to go to the board and say these need to be in place" and the mailing out letters to parents.... another pain. One because I don't have access to a printer in my office and have to leave my office for long periods of time to print mass letters, then I get to help in printing out labels for the letters and guess who has to hand write 360 envelopes. Me! On top of not having full access to the electrons student record. (They refuse to give me full access other then documenting visits) so if I don't even have that option of printing labels, have no access to other things that would make my job better like call logs or even updating phone numbers! (And the person that is suppose to update the electronic record from the emergency form doesn't). So I did type up a letter last Tuesday for the home room teachers to pass to the students for the flu info. But communications needed to approve of it. And as of today the following Wednesday, the letters still have not been given out.

    Oh and though this would give you all a laugh, had a teacher send a kid with a bloody nose to me from upstairs. Had Kleenex in their office but told him to just hurry to my office without giving him a Kleenex! So guess who had to clean up bloody hands and face and walk around the school looking for blood spots. How are these teachers even teaching when they lack common sense. Lol.

    Thank you all for your advice and support! I agree that it is a lot of administration giving us a hard time and my district nurse is trying so hard with what she had. I've also been out of gloves for 3 months because after my nurse submitted the order it has to go to admin for approval who oops seem to have never received it. These people are hot messes I tell you!
  9. by   OyWithThePoodles
    If you find another job this is what I would recommend: Sitting down with admin and yes, even the board if necessary. I would let them know that their lack of support, and lack of policies is costing them nurses and in the long run could cost them a lot more than that. I would let them know that it is a slippery slope and the liability and litigation that they are opening themselves up to is something they might want to consider. Best of luck!
  10. by   Amethya
    You're not alone. I'm just a CMA and the same thing for me, I work alone and the only person in charge of me is the School Health Manager. Your situation sounds worse than mine though!

    If I mess up (Which I did last semester and I think almost cost me my job), they will push me under the bus to cover their butts. I learned my lesson and I been trying hard to make us work together, not against each other. I been keeping paper trails and sending letters and keeping copies. It took a while, but I been doing better lately.

    The main thing I learned is basically you need to talk to the person in charge of you and if nothing is working with you guys and admin isn't listening, that's when you go above them. If there's nothing that scares admin is basically the people above. If that makes them listen, then maybe there's something that be done and actually work together. But if nothing gets fixed then that's when you might have to consider finding another job.
  11. by   SchoolNurseTXstyle
    I hate to say this but these are the kinds of schools/district that need to get on the local news for some kind of good TB, influenza outbreak. Then let a little ole mass hysteria push them into putting better policies and procedures in place!!
  12. by   Amethya
    Quote from Maria MA
    Our district nurse is actually trying to do as much as possible. She is new and started just a couple months ago. (The nurse before that did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING). The thing that is a problem is that we basically have a road block from administration when communicating things. Since we are contracted it's not like we can go to the board and say "hey this needs to be done". I feel, and maybe I am wrong, the company I work for needs to go to the board and say these need to be in place" and the mailing out letters to parents.... another pain. One because I don't have access to a printer in my office and have to leave my office for long periods of time to print mass letters, then I get to help in printing out labels for the letters and guess who has to hand write 360 envelopes. Me! On top of not having full access to the electrons student record. (They refuse to give me full access other then documenting visits) so if I don't even have that option of printing labels, have no access to other things that would make my job better like call logs or even updating phone numbers! (And the person that is suppose to update the electronic record from the emergency form doesn't). So I did type up a letter last Tuesday for the home room teachers to pass to the students for the flu info. But communications needed to approve of it. And as of today the following Wednesday, the letters still have not been given out.

    Oh and though this would give you all a laugh, had a teacher send a kid with a bloody nose to me from upstairs. Had Kleenex in their office but told him to just hurry to my office without giving him a Kleenex! So guess who had to clean up bloody hands and face and walk around the school looking for blood spots. How are these teachers even teaching when they lack common sense. Lol.

    Thank you all for your advice and support! I agree that it is a lot of administration giving us a hard time and my district nurse is trying so hard with what she had. I've also been out of gloves for 3 months because after my nurse submitted the order it has to go to admin for approval who oops seem to have never received it. These people are hot messes I tell you!
    I honestly think you need to find another school or job because this is not safe or good for you. Because you are lower, they will push you under the bus.

    For supplies, ask the nurse if you can have a PO for your school so you can order it yourself. We use schoolnursesupply.com

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