I have been an RN since 1991. I finally achieved my "Dream Job" of becoming a School Nurse, and worked at an elementary school for over 10 years, only to be laid off and replaced with an LPN this past June.
I had finally gotten to a point where I felt like all my doubts about being a nurse were because I just wasn't in the right area of nursing, because as a School Nurse, I LOVED my job and truly felt like it was my calling in life. I tried everything to educate our board of education--even contacting the State Education Department and showing the board all the regulations, scopes of practice, and statements from the state against what they were doing...but to no avail. It made no difference, and I lost my job along with another RN.
Now an LPN is in my office, taking care of over 550 students and over 100 staff members---students with extreme special needs---and she is not qualified to do the job (no assessment or triage privileges as an LPN!) Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for LPN's---I worked as an LPN before I got my RN---but I also knew my scope of practice.
I am shocked that EVERYTHING School Nurses do is mandated by the state....but School Nurses themselves are NOT mandated. Are you kidding me? There doesn't seem to be any urgency to remedy this either!
With more and more students with chronic & serious medical issues attending schools, why isn't this on the very forefront of legislation? I have written several senators & congressmen only to be told that they "understand" the importance and it is something they take seriously....but that is it. I think RN's (School Nurses) across the state of NY...heck--it should be this way across the country in EVERY state--need to stand up and do something about this!
As School Nurses....we are independent practitioners that make a HUGE difference in the lives of the students & communities we serve...we are necessary, important....and we should be STATE MANDATED IN EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL BUILDING!!!!! Thoughts? Suggestions? I feel alone, abandoned, scared, and so very uncertain of my future. Losing my dream job was so much harder on me that I could have ever imagined it would be.
Just so you're aware, I'm an LPN in Florida, and I work at an elementary school of 950+ students and 60+ staff. I was taught to assess
in nursing school (yes, head to toe assess
ment), and interpreting information, implementing care plans
, giving meds,provide holistic nursing care etc. Call it what you will, but every LPN does
assess and apply nursing interventions. Just like RN's. Just ask them. The state of FL has LPN's in their elementary schools, with RN's in oversight positions. I saw the District nurse RN about 5 weeks ago for maybe 10 minutes and we chatted about her sons the whole time. I'm very independent, have assessed and handled emergencies for brittle diabetics, children with severe allergies, children needing Epipens and glucagon, children who have broken their arms/feet, colostomies, behavior/emotional issues, adults who have broken bones and cardiac arrest, and been involved with 504's and more. How could I have done all this without assessing? I am involved in the immunization program and work directly with the Health Dept. on issues. The suspected abuse cases are seen by me first. Some of our nurses have been in their jobs 20+ years. Some of our schools have LPN's who do catherizations, tube feedings, suctioning, and more..we have our share of medically fragile students, and have never had a problem with an LPN's versus RN's care.
It's odd to me that LPN's are mostly in charge positions at SNF's, yet you don't hear anybody having an issues about their "assessing" versus "evaluating" skills. Why is that? Do they have finer "evaluating" skills in LTC's, and they're full of folks who are medically fragile and unstable. And, no, I'm going going out of my scope of practice, either. If I am, then every school nurse, dialysis nurse, clinic nurse, LTC nurse, etc etc in this country is out of compliance.
I am not saying I think LPN's are equal to RN's. I know that! I understand RN's have a greater depth of knowledge, have more years in school, etc . I think each has it's own strengths. Unfortunately, it seems some of our RN friends have no use for us, or don't really understand what we're taught in school.
Last edit by mc3 on Oct 3, '12
: Reason: because I wanted to