COVID Testing Fatigue

Updated | Posted
by JenTheSchoolRN JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN Member Nurse

Specializes in School nursing.

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Mainly just a minor vent. I'm all COVID testing, all the time. I built our program from scratch. I'm proud of it. I have opt ins from EVERY SINGLE family - that is huge.

But I'm also just exhausted.

We welcomed back all our students last week. I run about 600 COVID tests weekly. We do an individual PCR baseline on new returning students, then do pooled testing after that on students, individual PCRs for staff. Had a positive pool come back this morning, calling families and re-swabbing to run individual reflex PCRs all before 8 AM. I'm at my desk every morning at 5:45-6 AM.

I am getting a promotion come June with the official title of School Nurse Leader - something so very, very rare in the charter world and I'm excited about the growth and that my school respects and trusts me. But with respect and trust come the texts all the time. And to be honest, the staff needs way more from me than any of the families. The anxiety levels are high.

Luckily next week is our April vacation. And I have never needed it more. I will finally travel slightly on a vacation for me and my husband - both fully vaccinated - and see my family (mom/dad/grandparents now fully vaccinated) that I did not see for any holidays.

FixerofUhohs

FixerofUhohs

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 47 years experience. 8 Posts

Wow, we are doing covid testing in our district, but only on staff/students who are symptomatic. We can only test the children in elementary whose parents are present and have signed all consents in person. The middle and high school student's parents can sign electronically. So we're not really using them for screening all students (which is what I understand you are doing) but only those who are symptomatic and only those whose parents give consent. (and in the case of the younger kids, are present.)

scuba nurse

scuba nurse, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing, Pediatrics. Has 32 years experience. 622 Posts

Congrats on the promotion! Well deserved!

We are just back hybrid and its been 3 weeks, we are not doing the pooled testing, we opted out (Worcester) but I cant imagine the workload you have as I am swamped!! And exhausted! I am happy for vacation but it will totally suck when we come back!  Hang in there! Have a great vacation!

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing. 3,029 Posts

10 minutes ago, scuba nurse said:

Congrats on the promotion! Well deserved!

We are just back hybrid and its been 3 weeks, we are not doing the pooled testing, we opted out (Worcester) but I cant imagine the workload you have as I am swamped!! And exhausted! I am happy for vacation but it will totally suck when we come back!  Hang in there! Have a great vacation!

Any push back on not opting in?

I was already running individual PCRs on my high needs in person kids since November so pooled wasn't a huge transition in terms of knowing what to do. But it is my main job function right now. I did choose not to do reflex BinaxNOW tests and instead do reflex PCRs and quarantine kids in a positive pool for 1 day while I get results.

I hire EMS help for the main swabbing (which takes 10.5 hours of my time and that does NOT include any prep work - just the swabbing itself that I run admin on), follow up PCR swabbing and athlete testing is all me. I've become an expert swabber with more love for the envo reusable N95 mask and a good relationship with the local EMS.

Edited by JenTheSchoolRN

Enjoy the week off- you SO deserve it!  I still am in awe that you are doing all your own testing- we have an entire team of people and it is still a huge job every week!

cowboysandangels

cowboysandangels, BSN

Specializes in Peds. Has 22 years experience. 141 Posts

I cannot imagine how tired you are.  I am exhausted and we are not testing in our district.  The calls start so early in the morning and run late into the night.  My brain wonders if we should be doing testing here as well.  I am not sure how to approach that question with admin.  Part of me thinks it will help and the other part of me is too tired to add to the load.  

kidzcare

kidzcare

Has 5 years experience. 3,393 Posts

20 hours ago, JenTheSchoolRN said:

I run about 600 COVID tests weekly. We do an individual PCR baseline on new returning students, then do pooled testing after that on students, individual PCRs for staff. 

I am getting a promotion come June with the official title of School Nurse Leader - something so very, very rare in the charter world and I'm excited about the growth and that my school respects and trusts me. But with respect and trust come the texts all the time. And to be honest, the staff needs way more from me than any of the families. The anxiety levels are high.

 

Holy shnikes! This sounds exhausting!! How do you have time for anything else???

Awesome news on the promotion! Hoping it comes with a hefty pay hike! 

I recently took on more responsibility in my district after a higher up quit unexpectedly. It's been overwhelming to say the least. I feel proud that I was the one that was asked to step up and fill in for some of the duties but it is so much and I am feeling the anxiety building and building... 30 days left!!

k1p1ssk, BSN, RN

Specializes in pediatrics, school nursing. Has 11 years experience. 697 Posts

At this point, I don't know how any school nurse operating as a regular, seeing kids all day typer school nurse, can tack on any type of testing (other than rapid tests for symptomatic students) without at least one other full time health care provider. I am in a small pre-k through 6 school (around 165 students), and we've been full in person for 2 weeks, hybrid with kids in 5 days a week since October. I am utterly exhausted from these past 4 weeks, and if they asked me to suddenly do testing on top of everything else, I'd blow a gasket... 

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,776 Posts

1 hour ago, k1p1ssk said:

At this point, I don't know how any school nurse operating as a regular, seeing kids all day typer school nurse, can tack on any type of testing (other than rapid tests for symptomatic students) without at least one other full time health care provider. I am in a small pre-k through 6 school (around 165 students), and we've been full in person for 2 weeks, hybrid with kids in 5 days a week since October. I am utterly exhausted from these past 4 weeks, and if they asked me to suddenly do testing on top of everything else, I'd blow a gasket... 

What type of visits are you getting? Do you think return-to-class anxiety is playing a large role in the volume?

k1p1ssk, BSN, RN

Specializes in pediatrics, school nursing. Has 11 years experience. 697 Posts

52 minutes ago, Jedrnurse said:

What type of visits are you getting? Do you think return-to-class anxiety is playing a large role in the volume?

I think the pandemic has had such far reaching arms that it has affected, even if indirectly, every facet of our lives. We welcomed around 40 kids back full time 2 weeks ago, and these families tend to be the more high-anxiety families, therefore, the kids are more high anxiety. I think the small in-person classes during our hybrid model also helped a lot of kids because they were getting a lot more 1 on 1 attention from their teachers. So all this, plus just the increase in volume of kids and more outdoor time = more injuries, and allergy season is in full swing here, too. Teachers sending kids in droves for runny noses. TICKS. I have removed at least 3 ticks this week alone. 

All that and an increase in COVID cases in our area means more situations where so and so was a close contact with so and so, etc. etc. etc.... 

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 45 years experience. 11 Articles; 17,510 Posts

Sending an energy booster to get you through this week:

 

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JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing. 3,029 Posts

22 hours ago, k1p1ssk said:

At this point, I don't know how any school nurse operating as a regular, seeing kids all day typer school nurse, can tack on any type of testing (other than rapid tests for symptomatic students) without at least one other full time health care provider. I am in a small pre-k through 6 school (around 165 students), and we've been full in person for 2 weeks, hybrid with kids in 5 days a week since October. I am utterly exhausted from these past 4 weeks, and if they asked me to suddenly do testing on top of everything else, I'd blow a gasket... 

I've been testing since November, so I'm used to the process, but the volume has increased x4 pretty much overnight since we went from high needs in person to full in person (no hybrid).

I found my positive student in my pool and finally finished my complete contract tracing (including still talking to some close contact families at 10 PM at night from home). Testing can be a Mon-Thurs process depending on the results for me. 

Though right after this all, I got called to MS recess outside. I had a kid with a cast somehow get their casted foot stuck in the railing. I managed to twist it out with no cast damage thankfully. Normally this would be in the C'mon thread, but I was just happy to have a non-COVID task it kinda made my day!