Who is your boss?

  1. So, I work in a district that has 5 schools. Each school has 1 nurse, and we have a district nurse who is certified in school nursing, who oversees us. She is the one who did my initial interview, and who I communicated with prior to being hired. She is the one in charge of our meetings, etc. However, I feel like I often have two bosses, since the administrators at my school often have different ideas of what my responsibilities include (for example- on Institute days, the other nurses all use the day to catch up on office work, but my administrator wanted me to sign up for the classes with the teachers-- none of the classes have to do with my job, really).
    I guess I don't really know who my ultimate boss is, and I was wondering if anyone else has any similar experience or advice. I often feel like I'm being told to do 2 different things by the district nurse and the administrator (who has a reputation of being on a power trip...so fun). I don't want to be in a bad place with him, but of course the district nurse has a better, more realistic idea of what my job entails. I already feel unsupported by administration, and don't want to worsen the situation. I feel like I'm regarded as an associate half of the time, and a teacher half of the time. (Unfortunately, I'm paid like an associate, but expected to be here on conference days, and to keep the same hours as a teacher).
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   OhioBPH
    I have a district RN, like you, and then a department at the hospital that oversees policies, training, etc.

    In the school I do work collaboratively with the administration. If I am asked to do something, I take that request to my RN for approval. For example, I am not "contracted" to attend school meetings, and I was asked to attend andspeak at one. Asked my RN, she said yes. Principal asked to extend vaccine deadline, district RN said yes. However,my clinical supervisors ultimately are my boss. A principal can't make me violate HIPPA, restrict sending a sick kid home, or make exceptions to policies regarding attendance.

    If I had been in your position I probably would have explained that the other school nurses were catching up on x,y,z things, why that is important and cannot be done during clinic hours,and ask to do the same. In my school it would be likely they did not realize how much work I need to get done when there isn't a line out the door.
  4. by   OldDude
    The head nurse can't hire you or fire you; she can have input and offer recommendations on both subjects. The campus principal is the king/queen of the kingdom and can dictate as your contract allows...including "others duties as assigned." The district superintendent is the ultimate boss over everyone.
  5. by   ruby_jane
    You do have two bosses. Have you tried having the district nurse supervisor tell your principal that you're needed at whatever meeting the nurses go to when there's an in-service day? That meeting's probably just you working in your office, but that will tell the administrator that s/he is missing the bigger picture.

    I appreciate all the ways my administrator attempts to make feel part of the culture of the school. I got to a fair share of meetings that have nothing to do with what I do. As long as I'm getting all my vaccine records in and doing all my screenings, I'm fine with it.
  6. by   Farawyn
    Quote from OldDude
    The head nurse can't hire you or fire you; she can have input and offer recommendations on both subjects. The campus principal is the king/queen of the kingdom and can dictate as your contract allows...including "others duties as assigned." The district superintendent is the ultimate boss over everyone.
    This.
    I have an "unofficial lead nurse" that I blow my ideas past, but I answer to the Principal.

    I also have to report to, am "subordinate" to the Athletic Admin. and the Special Ed. Admin.
  7. by   nmr79
    Quote from ruby_jane
    You do have two bosses. Have you tried having the district nurse supervisor tell your principal that you're needed at whatever meeting the nurses go to when there's an in-service day? That meeting's probably just you working in your office, but that will tell the administrator that s/he is missing the bigger picture.

    I appreciate all the ways my administrator attempts to make feel part of the culture of the school. I got to a fair share of meetings that have nothing to do with what I do. As long as I'm getting all my vaccine records in and doing all my screenings, I'm fine with it.
    I have had her vouch for me in the past. For example, we had a staff meeting and a nurse meeting scheduled at the same time. The staff meeting was about MAP testing, and the nurse meeting was about concussion protocols. I had assumed that the district nurse had communicated with the principal about this, so I just went to the nurse meeting. The next day, the principal said "We missed you at the staff meeting yesterday," which is odd, since he has said about 12 words to me this whole year, and I always sit in the back at the meetings. I'm happy that they wanted me there, I guess, but it was almost a passive-aggressive vibe, and I said "Oh, I was at the district nurse meeting, I'm sorry, I thought that was communicated to you." I guess I'm just frustrated. I get ignored for staff social stuff, my birthday got overlooked, even though they list every other staff member's b-day (I don't care too much, but again, I feel like I'm part of the staff only when they need me, but otherwise, get ignored). On back to school night, none of the other nurses had to go to their schools. I had to go to mine, and I had to ring the bell at 8 minute intervals. I wouldn't have minded if I had to do something even vaguely related to my job, but I was instead covering a mistake that IT had made by not setting timers. At our meeting next week, I'll ask my district nurse to communicate directly with administration.
  8. by   WineRN
    Quote from OldDude
    The head nurse can't hire you or fire you; she can have input and offer recommendations on both subjects. The campus principal is the king/queen of the kingdom and can dictate as your contract allows...including "others duties as assigned." The district superintendent is the ultimate boss over everyone.
    My head nurse actually is the one who hires and fires nurses here. I feel like it's almost like the dealing with the federal and local government. My health service director takes care of all of the district policies and has my back for big issues. But my day to day life is working with my Principal and Vice Principal and filling the roles they need me to.

    Maybe your principal is just trying to get you to be more seen in your school community. My admins have requested from time to time for me to attend their staff inservice days instead of the district nurse meetings. It is nearly always a waste of my time, but they usually have better food than at the nurse meetings so I can't complain too much
  9. by   OyWithThePoodles
    In my district we have a "district health coordinator" a.k.a. The Boss Lady. She is the one that hires and fires and is in charge of everything nurse related. She decides which schools we go to or if we need to cover a school for the day. If I am sick and need to call out, I call her. Out of respect I let admin. here know. The principal here is below The Boss Lady when it comes to me. Now, if it involves something related to her school she can make the call (ex: Principal tried to get me to send a kid with nits home, Boss Lady said "that isn't district policy, my nurse will not go against it, if you choose to, it is your school, but you will have to deal with the fall out of going against policy"). But in regards to me, principal has say over her school, but not what I do, really. If that makes any sense. It's a fine line.

    Boss Lady backs up her nurses. Boss Lady is pretty freaking awesome. Be like Boss Lady.
  10. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from nmr79
    I had to go to mine, and I had to ring the bell at 8 minute intervals. I wouldn't have minded if I had to do something even vaguely related to my job, but I was instead covering a mistake that IT had made by not setting timers.
    Oh my bananas!
  11. by   nmr79
    Quote from OyWithThePoodles
    In my district we have a "district health coordinator" a.k.a. The Boss Lady. She is the one that hires and fires and is in charge of everything nurse related. She decides which schools we go to or if we need to cover a school for the day. If I am sick and need to call out, I call her. Out of respect I let admin. here know. The principal here is below The Boss Lady when it comes to me. Now, if it involves something related to her school she can make the call (ex: Principal tried to get me to send a kid with nits home, Boss Lady said "that isn't district policy, my nurse will not go against it, if you choose to, it is your school, but you will have to deal with the fall out of going against policy"). But in regards to me, principal has say over her school, but not what I do, really. If that makes any sense. It's a fine line.

    Boss Lady backs up her nurses. Boss Lady is pretty freaking awesome. Be like Boss Lady.
    This seems the most like my situation. I just had my "boss lady" remind my assistant principal that I am not contracted to work on conference day. (we have to be here on 2/12 for meetings, and the teachers have conferences the next day). I was told to tell the office staff of my whereabouts if I have to leave for meetings on the 13th, and I said "Oh, I don't think the nurses are in on that day." Of course he thought I should be here. I had boss lady follow up, so hopefully that resolves things.
  12. by   nmr79
    Quote from ruby_jane
    Oh my bananas!
    It's frustrating! There are a lot of those kinds of things that they want me to do, which would be fine if I got maybe a tad more respect. They don't even say hello or make eye contact with me (asst. principal and principal) unless they want something from me, which is usually to deal with a parent or to do something completely unrelated to nursing. I say hello every day that I'm in the office, getting my mail, and they will ignore me! I thought it was just me, but apparently the previous nurse quit over similar dynamics with the same people, and many of the teachers have dealt with it as well
  13. by   lvnforschool
    When I got hired, I was given a job duty list, along with who I report to... My principal.
    The credentialed school nurse was more like an advisor. I was lucky to have the RN only really come in once a week if that, and I ran my office. It also sucked, because I had no one to really talk to about kids and what to do if ABC popped up. This year has been different because we have no RN.
  14. by   LikeTheDeadSea
    Whenever I feel like things get "dicey" I hook up my nursing coordinator and principal. "Hey, you guys want to fight over my whereabouts, cool, duke it out, but let me know the final say of what/where I should be doing." Bonus points if I get it in an e-mail to save for next year when responsibilities get debated again.

    The description of "Boss lady" above is very similar to what I have/love.

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