New School nurse sub - advice??Register Today!
- by photomom Jun 12, '12Hey all, I come from a critical care background but have an opportunity to work as a school nurse sub. I thought it would be a great opportunity to broaden my nursing experience and to pick up a few hours without being unavailable to my kids for a full 12hr shift.
I signed up as a sub for Thursday through an agency. When I reminded them I had never done this before their brief response was "oh, it's no big deal. A lot of nurses love doing it because it's easy. You just give meds to kids that have it ordered and you're available if they need you." Sounds simple enough... but now I'm getting nervous!
She told me I just check in to the office 20 minutes early so I have time to review the sub notes and that's all I should need. Oh, and she said there are not tube feeds at this school. (I never realized school nurses DID tube feeding!) This is just so far OUT of my comfort zone it's making me nervous when it probably shouldn't. It's kids and I'm used to being a nurse for big people (often VERY big people), it's during school so they're not hospitalized, and I'll be all alone.
I think that's what probably scares me the most. I am very comfortable floating just about anywhere in a hospital setting because I know there are other nurses there if I have questions. As a school nurse sub, I have NO orientation so I don't know the school, the people, or even the basic routine. I don't know the policies. What if something bad happened? In the ICU we're prepared because we expect these things - there's a crash cart, a code button, doctors on call, LOTS of great nurses all around, etc.
I'm a mom, but my kiddos are still pre-elementary (4&2) so I don't even have experience with this age group or in dealing with schools really at all. I'm sure things will be fine and I know you have to step outside your comfort zone to grow and I'm willing to do that - but I DO prefer to be a little prepared!
So, that's really what I'm asking for - some encouragement and some idea of what I can expect. Any tips for making things go smoothly? Anything I should ask? (I feel silly that I don't even know enough about school nursing to even know what questions I should be asking!) Aside from giving kids their meds (and is there a list I should find somewhere or how will I know who needs what? Do they come to me or do I find them?) what else should I expect? What else do school nurses do as subs? I remember from nursing school years ago that the school nurse implements a lot of education, I've read about how some of you have talked about immunization records, etc, but I don't see how I would do anything with that in one day as a sub.
Would love any advice you have!!! Thanks in advance
- Jun 12, '12 by MassEDI did sub school nursing and it was easy and often fun. Elementary school kids were needy, middle school kids were a bit more frustrating with their demands/attitude/personalities forming, and high school kids were the most fun.
It's not the hospital, or critical care, or even urgent care. It's kids at school who get their asthma meds, sometimes need triple antibiotic, and sometimes are throwing up and need to go home. No big deal.
Although should they need you to use an AED, you'll have that handled. I think having a person with that background is the perfect sub, in my honest opinion. Nothing's an emergency until it IS.
- MassED, thanks! You make it sound so easy and fun and like maybe I'm worried for nothing. I just don't like to be unprepared and since I don't know what to expect, it's hard to prepare. I think I'm probably worrying myself to pieces for nothing!
Is there usually something that tells you the routine? I'll be at an elementary school. Anything I should ask when I check in? Reading some of the posts by FT school nurses, it seems there's a lot of chain of command and you should have reported such and such to whomever. Do I need to worry about that? Who would I typically talk to if there's a problem or if I have questions? Would it just be the secretary that i check in with in the office?
- Jun 12, '12 by supervisorhatchetDon't worry too much. It is no different than any other nursing job....Your job is to follow the MDs order. No order no med, tx, etc. And in case of emergency....you are never alone! There is internet every where! You'll make it, and ace it to. !
- Jun 12, '12 by rdsxfnrnYou'll be fine, promise! I went from nursing school to school nursing. I am the only nurse in my district. I have learned by trial and error. Most of it is common sense. Follow doctor's orders, if you did not see them throw up then they didnt, do not hesitate to call 911.
- Jun 12, '12 by donnaceec/o being sick, check temp, fever=send home
vomiting (in your office/class) send home. I never believe the old "I just threw up in the bathroom"
possible broken ankle arm wrist= call parent for pick to get checked
severe emergency= 911
menses= rest x 15 min and return to class, I don't leave work for my period, you don't leave school
sore throat=check temp, cough drop (with permission form parent) back to class. Nopermiss for cough drop..cup of water
bad stomach ache= use my bathroom, check temp=return to class
injury over the weekend and you need ice=I dont give it with out a doctors order. I know "it's only ice", but if the knucklehad keep the icepack on too long and burns his own skin=yup, I'm responsible
headache= check temp, rest x 15 min..inquire why they didnt come in during THEIR lunch hour and how many tests do they have scheduled rest of afternoon?
Stomachache begiining of school=why didnt you eat bkfst? oh you didnt have time..well, I have three kids to get ready, bkfst and lunches to do and I ate bkfst. heres two crackers go back to class
You want to be excused from gym why?? no note from parents, no excuse. (some kids just hate to sweat)
Diabetics= follow the orders
Epi allergies= follow the orders
- Jun 12, '12 by luv-of-kidsDonnacee- that was a great list you gave her and IMO, just about covers a typical day. If you are really concerned about knowing where things are, ask your agency if you can go to the school for a couple of hours of orientation when the full time nurse is there so she can show you around a little bit and you don't have to walk in blind. I'm not a school nurse but went to school for a year with a special needs child and saw a lot of what she does. This particular schools nurse also had a closet full of different size clothes and underwear (underwear was always brand new in packages, but clothes were used donations) for "accidents".
- Thanks Donnacee! That makes me feel a LOT better! I know, I know. It's just a basic nursing job, but my brain isn't usually in minor complaints mode when I'm in scrubs so it's sometimes hard to step back and remind myself I'm not at a hospital and they're just kids.
How are docs orders usually organized? Should I look for charts on invidual kids? What else should I look around and find when I get there to make sure I have everything I need available when/if I should need it?
- Oh, and maybe a silly question, but how high of a fever = send home criteria?