I freely admit this is a whiny post and have bolded my actual questions for any who prefer not to read it!)
I know this is a repeat question but I also know it's not the first time for a repeat question to be asked here, and I would like some guidance from those who have been at this for longer than me.
I like to be busy and I am in no way wanting an empty health office. However, an issue I ran into at the end of last year has continued into the beginning of my first full year and I (and seemingly every one else) am at a loss as to why or how to fix the issue.
By the end of last school year, we were seeing 70-90 children most days (not including ~10 meds and procedures). My prek-5th elementary school has about 800 children. This means that on the days we saw 100 we were seeing a whole 1/8 of the school. Even on those days, I think the most I ever sent home was 5. Already, I am seeing 40-50 every day this year. It only took 3 days to go from 20s to 30s to 40s. Sometimes I see nearly 20 in one hour of recess and most of them have no visible/palpable sign of injury and end up chit chatting and smiling, walking around to get water, etc. by the time I work through the masses and see them. I would say most of these students leave the health office without any intervention at all other than assessment. (I have all but stopped using ice packs because I have found that that has cut down on students coming in just because they want one.)
Any given time that I have 10 in my office, I usually only feel that 1 needs attention, and rarely is it urgent. I think the most telling fact is that the other elementary school nurse in my district sees around 10 students in a day even though it is about the same size. I asked if she has run into this issue before and she said no. Our front office is also shocked by my numbers and questioning out loud what is going on. In these first 8 days of school I have seen 180+ different students (many of them several times). This is 1/5 of my school. I have only had 1 legitimate fever, 2 serious injuries, 2 less serious injuries, 1 with asthma trouble, and a handful who have vomited.
My main question is what pointers have you given to teachers about problem-solving in the classroom?
(And did it help?) Because some of my visits from classrooms are things like "blister" (intact) or "leg started hurting while sitting" or "foot fell asleep." A lot of walky talky smiling stomachaches all throughout the day. I am starting to suspect that some of our teachers are not really asking the children any questions before sending to me and I am hoping that I will be permitted to give them some guidance.
I have already started discussing with students the appropriateness of their visits ("I understand you fell, but your knee looks exactly the same as your other knee, and you are walking so well. Do you think next time we could rest and see if it feels better?"). I have become more stern and honest with them than last year because it has been suggested to me that the children come because they like me and I want them to know that the health office is not a place to go just because you feel like it. The students I have already seen 4 or 5 times in this first 1.5 week of school, I am also communicating with their parents about speaking with them to see if they need to see the doctor or if they need help identifying when they need to come see me. Children and parents have been somewhat receptive but I would also like to help the staff.
I know I have seen something like the "5 B's" here (breathing, bleeding, barfing??). Any other ideas for staff tips and/or other ideas would be greatly appreciated.
I have so many things I want to do for the student body as its nurse (speak with parents to get actual information about food allergies, investigate the hundreds who have "asthma" noted in their history to see who is actually still at risk, etc.). Teachers ask me questions and I don't have time to get the answers. I love these kids and don't mind seeing them all day; the worst part of this for me is the constant traffic makes it impossible to actually assess school health, promote health, and plan for the year. I know having frequent flyers and assessing nonsense complaints is par for the course but I am concerned that this is more than that and don't want to contribute to the problem.
Posting this before Labor Day Weekend might seem like folly but maybe other people like me still have their minds at school. Thank you to anyone who takes the time to read this, I am open to any suggestions any time