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A "real nurse" or school nurse

Posted

After nearly 2 years of school nursing, today I finally got asked the age old question (from a 6th grader): "So… are you, like, a real nurse, or just a school nurse"

LOL.

To balance things out, yesterday a teacher told me how grateful she is to have "an actual nurse" at the school to deal with medical issues, especially because she was always made to dispense meds which made her uncomfortable (of course!), and with such a terrible flu season/now COVID19.

SandIsMyGlitterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 21 years experience.

Why do we let those words get to us???? I hate to hear those words so much. Not sure why because I am confident in my position. After all the hard work and determination it takes to complete our nursing degrees, we want to be acknowledged for it. I had a parent ask me if she could apply for the open school nurse position further south in our county. I asked her qualifications and she told me that she graduated high school.........um, NO!!! People have no idea what we deal with on a daily basis. Sure, some things are common sense but how is someone (untrained) going to handle the 99 thousand other things that are not just a bandaid and some ice???? LOL, can you tell this irritates me????

BrisketRN, BSN, RN

Has 4 years experience.

It's like the "Just a Nurse" poster--if you've seen it.

You're just a school nurse. Just the only medical professional in the building. Just the person running to every emergency and making snap decisions on your own. Just the one responsible for educating all staff members (with little to no medical background) on medical conditions, asthma, allergies, epilepsy, etc. Just the person who needs to balance being a safe place for students with being the one who teaches them how to "tough it out." Just the person who is questioned by people who have no knowledge of what you do in the school, what your background is, and how deeply every decision you make is rooted in evidence-based science (which you're constantly educating yourself on). Maybe you have just a BSN or just an MSN or a CSN, or maybe you have an ADN, and have had to be kicked in the butt by the learning curve that is caring for hundreds of pediatric patients at once. You are just the one triaging, treating, creating plans of care, implementing changes, and evaluating that care--usually of multiple students in the same moment. You are just the one who spends hours on the phone with DCFS trying to ensure your students are safe. You are just the person who sometimes spends breaks and summers worrying about a specific student who has a health condition or mental health condition or an unstable home environment. You're just the person advocating for your students to have access to healthy food (or food at all), proper medical care, safe staffing of nurses at your school, and a safe home. You are just the one giving up your lunch break every day to stay with a child who is sick or injured or deal with emergency situations. I guess that's all you are right--just a school nurse

just a nurse.png

47 minutes ago, BrisketRN said:

It's like the "Just a Nurse" poster--if you've seen it.

You're just a school nurse. Just the only medical professional in the building. Just the person running to every emergency and making snap decisions on your own. Just the one responsible for educating all staff members (with little to no medical background) on medical conditions, asthma, allergies, epilepsy, etc. Just the person who needs to balance being a safe place for students with being the one who teaches them how to "tough it out." Just the person who is questioned by people who have no knowledge of what you do in the school, what your background is, and how deeply every decision you make is rooted in evidence-based science (which you're constantly educating yourself on). Maybe you have just a BSN or just an MSN or a CSN, or maybe you have an ADN, and have had to be kicked in the butt by the learning curve that is caring for hundreds of pediatric patients at once. You are just the one triaging, treating, creating plans of care, implementing changes, and evaluating that care--usually of multiple students in the same moment. You are just the one who spends hours on the phone with DCFS trying to ensure your students are safe. You are just the person who sometimes spends breaks and summers worrying about a specific student who has a health condition or mental health condition or an unstable home environment. You're just the person advocating for your students to have access to healthy food (or food at all), proper medical care, safe staffing of nurses at your school, and a safe home. You are just the one giving up your lunch break every day to stay with a child who is sick or injured or deal with emergency situations. I guess that's all you are right--just a school nurse

just a nurse.png

This. This made me cry...

It doesn't hurt my feelings that the student asked this - they're middle schoolers, they are kinda out of it. Now... if a parent asked me if I were a "real nurse" I would be very irritated. I just thought it was funny because I hear a lot of SNs on here say that this happens to them, and it was my first time! I was teaching a sex ed class, and now I introduce myself as "a real nurse, registered in the state of Arizona and about 20 other states, with a bachelors of science in nursing." LOL.

Haven't heard much of this either until about 10 minutes after reading this post. Had a kiddo ask me if I had to go to school to be a school nurse, like real nurses do.

Um yup, got the letters behind my name to prove it too.

BrisketRN, BSN, RN

Has 4 years experience.

31 minutes ago, jnemartin said:

It doesn't hurt my feelings that the student asked this - they're middle schoolers, they are kinda out of it. Now... if a parent asked me if I were a "real nurse" I would be very irritated. I just thought it was funny because I hear a lot of SNs on here say that this happens to them, and it was my first time! I was teaching a sex ed class, and now I introduce myself as "a real nurse, registered in the state of Arizona and about 20 other states, with a bachelors of science in nursing." LOL.

Yeah I've gotten a few kids asking if I had to go to college for this job. Nope just got out of clown college. And one of the little ones saw me getting into my car after school one day and said "YOU DON'T SLEEP IN THE NURSE'S OFFICE?"

LibraSunCNM, MSN

Specializes in OB. Has 10 years experience.

4 hours ago, Nurse Jen said:

I had a parent ask me if she could apply for the open school nurse position further south in our county. I asked her qualifications and she told me that she graduated high school.........um, NO!

Oh my! 😳

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

Very similar stereotypical sentiments for LTC nurses and NOC staff.

Doncha' know we all sleep on the night shift? That's after tiring ourselves out by fixing & fluffing all the little old ladies' afghans as they sit in their rocking chairs in the sun room.

SchoolNurse91, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 9 years experience.

I think some people ask because a lot of places hire non-licensed staff as a "school nurse."

tining, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nurse. Has 27 years experience.

Pretty sure it is illegal to call yourself a school nurse if you do not have the credentials.

tining, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nurse. Has 27 years experience.

Only 39 - geez

NurseBeans, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in school/military/OR/home health. Has 19 years experience.

These comments used to irritate me until my sister sent me a picture of a flyer from one of her childrens' schools, it basically said they would pay substitutes a little extra to sub for the "health office". Which it is called because they do not have a nurse per school, they have a nurse per district and then just whoever wants to work the health office in the school...she then proceeded to say she might do it...despite the fact that she gets woozy when I mention blood or scabs or vomit. She had no idea she might encounter those things.

It really is just that not every school in the country has an "actual" nurse, and people don't realize what we do.

Having said that, as a substitute school nurse now, somehow my name made it on to the list of district-wide subs for teachers. The first time I got a call to sub in a classroom I actually said "OMG no, I'm just a nurse! I can't be in a classroom!"

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

Hey! For all of you interested in that poster --- Google it as "nurses posters".

I googled and they had it there. With a bunch of other NICE posters.

But the real reason I post now is to alert you that they have posters that may be of mucho interest to those of you who want something to decorate your offices or classrooms. All different kinds of 'health ed' poster for very approp content (handwashing, food allergies, STDs, asthma, concussions, flu, etc). Even current topics - surprised me.

Some posters I would have seriously considered for my own jobs as Staff Dev/IC in LTC. There's even a couple I really like now for my own condo decorating use (the ones with the heart lungs, kidneys & ? are quite nice).

Just passing on the info.

Edited by amoLucia

5 hours ago, tining said:

Pretty sure it is illegal to call yourself a school nurse if you do not have the credentials.

I live in Baltimore City, and the school "nurse" at my son's school is a CNA that attended a two-ish hour course on medication administration. My son attends an elementary/middle school that easily has 300+ students, and they are LUCKY to have even a CNA available- sad truth of Baltimore City public schools. A great deal of the city schools here don't even have a health suite, let alone someone with actual training in health care.

But I digress- I'm in my final semester of nursing school now and I cannot IMAGINE being a school nurse. You guys have to deal with absolutely everything from paper cuts to broken wrists and it all needs to be documented- on top of dealing with an administration that seems to be against you far more often than they're on your side. I salute all of the school nurses out there.

That’s so weird a kid would think to phrase the question like that. Maybe one of the grownups in their life has that attitude?

I’m just a sub nurse, and sometimes work in the health room and sometimes go on the field trips. The littlest kiddos have asked me if I’m the “doctor” for the trip LOL.

Sunshine In My Pocket

Specializes in School Nurse. Has 26 years experience.

I’ve been a School Nurse for 18 years and a nurse for 25. I had been in the schools for about 10yr and my 25y(@the time) son told his Friends that his mother used to be a nurse , but now his mother is “just a school nurse”. I have not felt like a real nurse since. Very defeated.