Questions from new school nurse

  1. I have been working as a med-surg RN for almost 2 years. I just accepted a job offer for a school nurse position at an elementary school about 10 minutes from my house. I am so excited! I would like to get input from other school nurses as to how I can best prepare in these next couple of months. I have a book on school nursing, NASN School Nursing: A Comprehensive Guide. I have been spending a lot of time on here reading the threads and on the internet researching school nursing topics. I am going to join NASN and look through the resources on there.

    Anyone have any links to blogs/websites/books/etc that you find helpful and recommend?

    When do you actually start working? Is there work that needs to be done before the first day of school to prepare for the school year? The district nursing department provides two days of orientation at the end of July. I am sure I will get more information then.

    Is there anything I should have for the clinic? (Ex. clothes from goodwill/thrift stores for accidents, etc? Or any other supplies that are helpful or needed?)

    How much interaction do you have the the principal? Do you keep in touch with him/her over the summer? My principal seems to prefer email. He emailed me with job offer and other info relating to the hiring process. But, I haven't yet talked with him about expectations, etc. Or, are the expectations more set by the district office?

    How do you deal with difficult parents? From talking to the previous nurse and the principal during the interview, the parents in this area (wealthy area) are the most difficult part of the job. I look really young (I'm 25) and I am concerned that they may not trust me or my experience at first. I feel like I deal with people very well at my current job, so I'm not overly concerned, but it is on the back of my mind. Advice? Thoughts?

    Any input/advice/etc is greatly appreciated!
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  3. by   schooldistrictnurse
    I feel like a good start is with a job description. That way you clearly know what is expected. Your orientation will be very helpful. As I'm sure you have seen, many school nurses get no orientation, so you're already way ahead. What you want to learn at orientation (among other things) is how you prepare for students with special medical needs so that everyone is ready on the first dy of school. (by that I mean meet with parent/teacher? Prepare emergency plans and share with staff? Have supplies ready?)
    Good luck and enjoy!
  4. by   hsnurse1
    This will be my 3rd year as a school nurse so I'm still learning, but here's my input. As far as websites go, this one is very helpful and also School Nurse Perspectives is good, although it has been under maintenance recently. I also find the New York State school nurse website helpful as far as getting ideas for forms and policies.

    I am contracted to work 5 days before school start. We typically go to the State School Nurse Conference, which will count for 3 and the other 2 I work in my office the week before school starts getting everything put back in place.

    Supplies: all the essentials: peroxide, bandaids, Neosporin, any OTC meds you're authorized to give, bandages, gauze, tape, tongue depressors, thermometer with probes, stethoscope, otoscope, bp cuffs, etc, etc. I have a wheelchair and set of crutches, also. Depending on your school you may be asked to provide clothes for kids from time to time. At some schools, the counselor will take care of that. I do it at my school and I take donations or pick up a few items from the Salvation Army from time to time.

    I am a high school nurse and really only have contact with my principal when a situation arises with a student or they need info for a report. Elementary may be a little different in that aspect. You are pretty much in control of how you run your office. You are responsible administratively to answer to the principal, but you make all medical decisions. It is your license on the line.

    Difficult parents are the hardest part of the job. I am courteous and always err on the side of caution when recommending follow-up with physician, etc.

    My advice: DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT. I document everything that comes through my door, even if it is trivial. You never know when the visit may come up, even if it is just the office asking if so and so was in your office at a certain time b/c they were not in class. I also always contact parent if I have any question at all. It may be something I might not consider that big of a deal, but remember you are dealing with other people's children and they may feel differently. Obviously, you can't call every parent for every visit. I'm just saying if it crosses your mind at all, let the parents know. I have only called 911 three times, but again...if I have any doubt, I call. Better safe than sorry.

    I could go on and I'm sure you'll get lots more advice from more seasoned school nurses. The first year is a learning curve as with any job. You will be great. I am in my early 30s working with high school kids so I understand your concern about the respect issue. It will be fine. Do your job and be professional. Not everyone will get what you do and some will think you do absolutely nothing, but you'll soon find out that's not true at all. School nursing is different every day and you have to be ready for anything. It is a lot of fun and very rewarding. Best decision I ever made! Good luck and message me if you have any more questions. I love keeping in touch with other school nurses just to bounce ideas off of them:-)
  5. by   hsnurse1
    I forgot....I would definitely go in early since this is your first year and review all policies and emergency plans. I scoured the internet to find great emergency plans and printed them out and put them in a binder. You will find flow charts that will help you a lot (at least they help me:-)