Staff Hysteria

  1. I'm a school nurse and I'm going crazy! I feel as if some kind of mass hysteria has settled over this school, and it's not the kids. It's the staff! I'd like to hear some thoughts about one of my current situations.

    One staff member (we'll call her Becky), was diagnosed with a seizure disorder and does not have it under control at all. My issue is, school has only been in session for a few months and during that time, I've responded to Becky's office roughly ten times. Most of the time, Becky describes an aura and nothing happens. Sometimes she asks me to check her vital signs. What is that going to do?

    Generally when Becky has these episodes she'll report to me that she neglected to eat breakfast and lunch. She basically lives off of energy drinks and pop. It eventually came out that she is taking all of her meds PRN, even her long-term medications that take weeks to a month to take effect/ reach therapeutic levels. She ONLY takes her medication when she feels like she's going to have a seizure. I very politely explained to her that the medications needed time to take effect and that wasn't going to work, then it happened: she had a full blown seizure at school. ...then it happened again, and again.

    I definitely don't want to be insensitive. I care about all of our staff and students; I want her to be safe. In this instance, I don't feel like she's holding up her part of the bargain. The district is very flexible and supportive, which I think is wonderful, but at what point shouldn't this person take some accountability? This is a grown adult being noncompliant in a situation that has serious consequences. Students are constantly on edge, and I'm constantly having to leave my office to run to the aid of this teacher. I'm glad to help, but I can't help but feel like these situations would be completely avoidable if she would just eat breakfast and take her medicine like the MD ordered.
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  2. 53 Comments

  3. by   SaltineQueen
    I'd say it's time to get the administration involved. It's becoming an issue in the classroom, safety wise and probably performance wise. That's above your pay grade.
  4. by   Flare
    agreed - you have already spoken to her about the need to be consistent with her medication. The ramifications of not doing to should be clear by now. In order to safely do her job and teach her class, she needs to be consistent. If there is a reason that she is not consistent in taking the medications (side effects, cost, etc) the she should discuss with her doctor. But ultimately the safety and performance issues are administration issues.
  5. by   GdBSN
    Speak to your nursing supervisor about the policies in your district to determine the extent of care you are to provide to employees. In my district, I am only to provide emergency care to employees. This employee is not managing her daily care and meds, and it is a habitual problem. I have been told to refer situations like this to HR, so they can obtain medical releases and address her daily care. Good luck.
  6. by   OldDude
    Ditto, ditto, ditto...I'm pretty sure there is an attention seeking element to this too.
  7. by   WineRN
    Quote from GdBSN
    Speak to your nursing supervisor about the policies in your district to determine the extent of care you are to provide to employees. In my district, I am only to provide emergency care to employees. This employee is not managing her daily care and meds, and it is a habitual problem. I have been told to refer situations like this to HR, so they can obtain medical releases and address her daily care. Good luck.
    ^This.

    I work with a lot of hypochondriacs, so I know the medical history of most of the staff here and I do try to help them whenever they have questions about their own personal medical issues. But at the end of the day I am NOT their personal nurse, and it sounds like this staff member is using you for exactly that.
  8. by   JenTheSchoolRN
    Quote from WineRN
    ^This.

    I work with a lot of hypochondriacs, so I know the medical history of most of the staff here and I do try to help them whenever they have questions about their own personal medical issues. But at the end of the day I am NOT their personal nurse, and it sounds like this staff member is using you for exactly that.
    This x100.

    Also, this is becoming a safety issue and that should be handled by administration, not you. We can sympathize with a person managing a chronic illness, but if that illness means that person cannot complete their job safely at this time, perhaps they need to talk to HR about a short term medical leave until it can be managed to the point where they can complete their job safely.
    Last edit by JenTheSchoolRN on Oct 19
  9. by   Cattz
    Wow. I am so sorry that you have been put in this situation. This is ridiculous. I would be getting pretty blunt with her at this point. Her health is obviously most important. I hope you can get admin. involved. Anything, no matter what is the cause, that effects the school climate and learning environment, is not ok. You are not there just for her. Please keep us updated!
  10. by   ruby_jane
    All of the above. Hang in there. You need to find a way to communicate to admin that while you're assessing an aura on an adult who is not taking her meds as prescribed that there is a real danger a kid could actually have a seizure (allergic reaction, head injury) and you would be delayed in responding.

    Good luck!
  11. by   Ashizzle
    Oh I agree with you 110%. Her students have told me all the crazy stories she tells them after missing work for a few days. She embellishes a lot and adds on aspects that didn't really happen.
    Last edit by Ashizzle on Oct 19
  12. by   Ashizzle
    Here's my update: I did ask the health director for help and she said she would talk to Becky. Here's what we have: My health office will now be getting siderails for all of our beds in the health office! Really. The director insisted that there's nothing we can do, and we must accommodate her or she could "sue us."

    When Becky feels like she's going to have a seizure I ask her to sit on the floor and I put pillows on the floor next to her so if she falls over, her head is protected. This has kept her safe during the seizures she's had in my office. Apparently she doesn't like that and took advantage of the talk time with the director to complain. I'm at a loss for words.
  13. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from Ashizzle
    The director insisted that there's nothing we can do, and we must accommodate her or she could "sue us."
    Sweet Baby Moses.

    Who's watching her class while this is all happening??

    Good luck. Just keep documenting.
  14. by   BeckyESRN
    Quote from Ashizzle
    Here's my update: I did ask the health director for help and she said she would talk to Becky. Here's what we have: My health office will now be getting siderails for all of our beds in the health office! Really. The director insisted that there's nothing we can do, and we must accommodate her or she could "sue us."

    When Becky feels like she's going to have a seizure I ask her to sit on the floor and I put pillows on the floor next to her so if she falls over, her head is protected. This has kept her safe during the seizures she's had in my office. Apparently she doesn't like that and took advantage of the talk time with the director to complain. I'm at a loss for words.
    Parents need to start complaining because this not a safe learning environment for her students! She cannot be your responsibility and providing special accommodations for her in the nurse's office places it squarely in your lap. She is a grown-a$$ adult and needs to take responsibility for her own health. Administration needs to have a come to Jesus moment with this teacher. What are they going to expect you to do when you have a student with a health emergency and she demands your attention?!

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