Substitute Nurse Tips ?? :)

  1. Hey Everyone!!

    I am FINALLY going to sub for the first time next week and one day the following week. I'm a pediatric triage nurse (fairly newer nurse, 1 yr 7 months RN experience). Both of the schools I'm subbing at are elementary schools, which I am VERY excited about

    Could any of you wonderful school nurses give me any tips?
    How to handle certain situations?
    Your experiences?

    Thanks a bunch!
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    About Sl1011

    Joined: Aug '08; Posts: 398; Likes: 97


  3. by   OnlybyHisgraceRN
    I'm a sub school nurse. I love it ! I work in the county where I used to be a health assistant so luckily I'm pretty familiar with policies and procedures.
    The main tips I can give are:
    1. Ask lots of questions. I ask questions all the time. There is nothing wrong with that. Better to ask then to make a mistake.
    2. Arrive at your site atleast 30 min. early to orient yourself with the layout of the health room. You don't want it to be a scavenger hunt every time you need something.
    3. Most health rooms leave a sub book where you can find important info.
    4. If you know nothing else make sure you know who has special health needs and who has medications. Very important.
    5. When it doubt call the parent. You are new and don't know these kids. Usually if a kid complains of something and I send them back to class and they come back again, I call home. Better safe then sorry.
    6. Communicate well with the lead nurse and teachers. ( I know, I know common sense right?)
    7. Last but not least, Have fun !

    I'm sure bergen, praiser, or purple scrubs might chime in. They are full of wisdom and great advice.
  4. by   Sl1011
    Thanks a BUNCH for the comment Luckily I went to both schools I'm subbing in this month in one morning to speak with the school nurses and orient myself to the health room. I did take a look at the sub books and was able to find out the special needs children... I was also able to help document on a few children (thank goodness). I know I'm going to have a ton of questions. I am so unbelievably excited to experience this... nervous too, but mostly excited lol.

    How long have you been a sub school nurse? Do you have a preference in schools (ages)?
  5. by   OnlybyHisgraceRN
    I was a school health aide for about three years, after that I worked in LTC. I returned to school nursing after 2 years of working in LTC and have been subbing for about 7 months now. I prefer elementary and middle school. Elementary school is the busiest and middle school is pretty laid back. I love it!
  6. by   Purple_Scrubs
    I have never subbed and I can only imagine how difficult it is when you are in unfamiliar territory and no resource person right there! I did start my school nursing career mid-year in a chaotic office with only one day orientation, so I can sympathize! I agree 100% with the tips above. I think if I was subbing I would call parents a lot more often than I do as the "regular" nurse. I would also look for a policy and procedure manual and review it when things are quiet (if you are lucky!) You might also try to get the name/number of a nearby nurse at another school to bounce things off of when in doubt about the district's policies and procedures.
  7. by   NutmeggeRN
    If you have the opportunity to get in there and do some orienting ahead of time that would great. There should be a manual and I always (if not impossible, leave my tel #) I usually make sure someone looks in my sub as well. Ask questions, call the parent, the front office secretary usually knows EVERYTHING! and she can usually give you the skinny on the kids/family dynamic. Good Luck!
  8. by   Nurse ABC
    Hopefully things are going pretty well for you so far. I always think it's a good idea to locate a map and know how to get to the cafe, gym, and playground as well as any rooms that have special needs children. Also, make sure you know the plans for fire drills, lock-downs, bomb threats, etc. and where the emergency bags are you need to grab in those cases. Always go over which students are on epi-pens, diastat, etc. Also locate the AED (if one available). There is nothing worse than being called to the playground and have no idea which door to take to get there or hearing an alarm with students in your office and wondering what to do. My first day subbing I got called to a room because a student was having a seizure and the bus aide in my office who had been working there for over a year couldn't even tell me how to get there. I found a map, ran all the way down two hallways and up the stairs to get to the room and the teacher asks where the wheelchair was. Thankfully the student was ok but I had to go back to find the wheelchair (didn't know there was one) and find the elevator (didn't know where that was either). Talk about an introduction! Brush up on neuro checks (you'll get lots of head injuries) and assessment skills for everything else. Ask about procedures for kg students (some aren't allowed to go back to class by themselves) and for students being excused to go home. Hopefully the nurse will leave good notes but those are things I've come across where I didn't have a note and when in doubt always ask someone. Also never be afraid to call a parent if you have questions about their child's care. I've had to call and explain I'm a sub several times and I've never had a parent get upset about it. Better to be safe than sorry. Any injury that leaves a mark or could lead to a dr follow-up call and notify the parents as well except for minor injuries like bandaids for knees, hangnails, etc. Good luck-it can be very rewarding.