Paramedic and teachers assistant being pushed to cover for a irresponsible school nurse?

  1. Hello! Please note, I'm not a nurse. I'm a EMT-Paramedic and a Teachers Assistant.
    Recently, I've been pushed to do short term coverage for the school nurse (30-45 minutes, sometimes an hour) at one of my schools, and the nurse has been gone more because she feels I'm qualified to cover.
    I don't feel I am qualified to cover, and I desperately didn't want the district to make it a habit.
    Any advice? Any heads up in case they do make it a habit?
    (FYI I work at multiple schools, it's just one that consistently asks me to do this)
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  2. 40 Comments

  3. by   halohg
    First I would look at state law, second do you belong to a union? Personally I do not see this as too big of a deal, as I have worked in districts and had a non liscensed individual cover my lunch, however I was not permitted to leave the campus and available for an emergency. Your not responsible for the daily administrative happenings of a nurse but just to cover the possible first aid issue, or acute illness. As a EMT you are qualified and even in some states would qualify as the medical professional in a similar situation. I would demand a different pay rate for the coverage position as your experience and compensation should not be taken advantage of. If the nurse is stretching the time you are covering I would speak adult to adult on this issue as I am sure you are required to go back to your hired position and being late is not acceptable. Why do you not feel qualified? You should not be giving daily meds or carrying out MD orders for treatments, that can be accomplished before or after coverage. So clean the wounds, give out the ice packs, take the temperature, be compensated accordingly and leave the rest for when the nurse returns.
  4. by   ScottyWeirdo
    I know for a fact in my state other licensure / certification is required in my state to be a school nurse besides just being an RN. I'm aware I would be considered a medical professional, I just don't want to get caught up in having insufficient licenses, etc if something occurs that could result in legal issues.
    I do not belong to a union.
    Last edit by ScottyWeirdo on Oct 29 : Reason: Addition of information
  5. by   halohg
    In my state that is not the law, you seemed more upset by the Nurse extending the time of coverage vs. a legal issue. That's different, bring the issue to administration, Human Resources, people personnel, or the district attorney if need be.
  6. by   Windchaser22
    Quote from ScottyWeirdo
    I know for a fact in my state other licensure / certification is required in my state to be a school nurse besides just being an RN. I'm aware I would be considered a medical professional, I just don't want to get caught up in having insufficient licenses, etc if something occurs that could result in legal issues.
    I do not belong to a union.
    It would depend on what your terms of employment are, I.e., are you there only as a teachers assistant or both an assistant and EMT? If your employment includes work as an EMT, as long as you stay within the confines of what you are allowed to do as an EMT it shouldn't be a problem.
  7. by   Farawyn
    I was out a few weeks ago and none of our subs were available. A retired cop, active Volly FD, who is and EMT and Sub TA was called in.
    It is not the best case, but it is bettern nothing if a TRUE emergency arrives.
  8. by   GdBSN
    First off...I am not sure why you think a nurse is irresponsible because he/she requires time away from their clinic. There may be other matters that need to be addressed in the school or district. Every school employee is entitled to time off. Teachers have subs to cover their classrooms. Unfortunately, with school nurses, there are not a lot of subs available. If a school nurse requires time off and there is no RN sub available, guess what, other personnel are used to cover the clinic. I would assume that part of your contract stipulates that you go where you are needed, and if you are needed to cover the clinic, then that is where you go. When I am away from my clinic, I have two paras that I have trained, and I feel very competent that they know what to do. If you have EMT training, then I can see why the school would want you to cover the clinic.
  9. by   kidzcare
    Quote from GdBSN
    First off...I am not sure why you think a nurse is irresponsible because he/she requires time away from their clinic. There may be other matters that need to be addressed in the school or district. Every school employee is entitled to time off.
    I agree. I'd like to know what the nurse is doing to be called irresponsible. Is he/she at another district school? Going out for coffee?
  10. by   Farawyn
    I just started taking my lunch in earnest this year. People look at me like I'm crazy when I say I'm going for a walk.
  11. by   OyWithThePoodles
    Quote from Farawyn
    I just started taking my lunch in earnest this year. People look at me like I'm crazy when I say I'm going for a walk.
    I need to grow a pair and just go to a different room and tell people I am taking a lunch. But unless I went to my car they would send a kid room to room to find me.

    It usually takes me about an hour to finish my lunch, and by then it's usually lukewarm. Bleh.
  12. by   Flare
    When i'm away from my office, a secretary from the office covers me. She doesn't have anything but her knowledge as a mom and common sense. If there is something that is beyond what she think she can handle, she calls my cell or texts me. I'm usually just away for my lunch, emergencies (which seems to be more and more frequent these days), and standard our of office stuff - (making photo copies, getting a file from archives, ect.) It works out ok. I trust her judgement.
  13. by   ruby_jane
    Are you being employed as an EMT? As in...are they paying for that set of skills? If not, you are not employed to use your training and certification/licensure, therefore it's incidental, and you're right to be concerned about something happening while the nurse is away. It's different than you stumbling on a happening at school and using your training as a good Samaritan.

    Second question (and I apologize for my ignorance): what skills can you do without a doctor's orders, and do you have the necessary orders to keep you within your scope of practice? It sounds like the district is using you for a work-around, and it's very convenient that you're there.

    I am told that I *can* leave campus for lunch but I'm still responsible for all the lives on campus (even if I am not there because I took lunch). So....I just shut down after all the lunches for 30 minutes. It's been a challenge training teachers but most of them got it after my second email. "Your student has had three 90 minute periods to come see me, and that included their lunch. If it's not an emergency, direct them to wait..."
  14. by   Farawyn
    Quote from Flare
    When i'm away from my office, a secretary from the office covers me. She doesn't have anything but her knowledge as a mom and common sense. If there is something that is beyond what she think she can handle, she calls my cell or texts me. I'm usually just away for my lunch, emergencies (which seems to be more and more frequent these days), and standard our of office stuff - (making photo copies, getting a file from archives, ect.) It works out ok. I trust her judgement.
    Quote from ruby_jane
    Are you being employed as an EMT? As in...are they paying for that set of skills? If not, you are not employed to use your training and certification/licensure, therefore it's incidental, and you're right to be concerned about something happening while the nurse is away. It's different than you stumbling on a happening at school and using your training as a good Samaritan.

    Second question (and I apologize for my ignorance): what skills can you do without a doctor's orders, and do you have the necessary orders to keep you within your scope of practice? It sounds like the district is using you for a work-around, and it's very convenient that you're there.

    I am told that I *can* leave campus for lunch but I'm still responsible for all the lives on campus (even if I am not there because I took lunch). So....I just shut down after all the lunches for 30 minutes. It's been a challenge training teachers but most of them got it after my second email. "Your student has had three 90 minute periods to come see me, and that included their lunch. If it's not an emergency, direct them to wait..."
    This, and this, both.

    Remember folks, we don't work in a MASH unit. We work in a school.
    Yes, as nurses, we do best practice day to day for our kids, but surely, someone can call a parent or 911 if we are out.

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