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Front office help?

School   (953 Views 7 Comments)
by Nurse.jen Nurse.jen (Member) Member

678 Profile Views; 19 Posts

I'll try to make this short and sweet. I'm new to school nursing, a few months into the job, and the learning curve has been steep. The administrative duties in addition to working with the pediatric population (prior NICU). I feel like I'm doing ok. Not exceptional, but doing alright considering I'm only a few months into this. My school is very much "teamwork" centered. My full time clinic assistant does car rider line, answers front desk phones (when needed), delivers notices to teachers at the end of the day, translates Spanish calls, etc. The district health coordinater was concerned she wasn't in my clinic full time helping me get things in order and gently reminded the principal that I'm new and need the administrative support. Our school is about 900 kiddos and we stay fairly busy. Fast forward, the reminder didn't change anything and for the sake of teamwork I just gave up on having her all to myself, and I manage when she's busy doing other things. However, I have not gone out of my way to learn the front desk procedures, computer programs for checking in guests, transportation changes, student release etc. I feel like I'm doing an alright job learning my job and someday know I will feel more confident and proficient to offer a lending hand answering phones and checking in guests when the front office gets busy....but today I was asked to come learn how to do some of these things, to help when it's busy. I'm a yes person so I conceded and listened. I'm feeling very frustrated that despite my clinic assistant doing these task there is an expectation this new in the job for me to help in this aspect as well. When I have 8 kids sitting in my office and have to stay late to chart and call parents or whatever, no one can come do my job. I manage when my clinic assistant is needed and make due. Am I being completely ridiculous for feeling like I should be at ease in my own position and responsibilities before assuming and learning the front desk tasks as well. I truly want to help the "team", but at the same time I'm not interested in missing meds, forgetting deadlines, and getting sidetracked with additional administrative duties right now, so new in the game. I also don't want to appear like someone who doesn't want to lend a helping hand. Advice, suggestions? Does anyone else help the front office at their school, what is the "norm"

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1,210 Posts; 7,879 Profile Views

You are the NURSE and they need to realize that! Your clinic needs to come first, kids should not be waiting because they want you to answer phones and check people in and be the nurse. You are new to this and it is a whole new world! You need time to get used to your nursing expectations. Once you are settled, sure, help out when you can. I love to do die cuts and construction paper projects, so I take on those types of things that I can do IN MY OFFICE because that is where I need to be. If it's a slow day (lol) or a time in between meds and check ins, I'll run things to class rooms or escort visitors, but my principal will not assign me any where(bus line, walkers, lunch monitor) because you just don't know when things will go south and as the nurse, you need to be available.

I would tell them that, yes, you would like to help out, but for now, you need to focus on your nursing responsibilities only. Call you health coordinator and tell her what's going on.

It does get better!

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KKEGS has 4 years experience and specializes in NICU; School Nursing.

694 Posts; 7,940 Profile Views

I do not help out the front office. We have a full time secretary and an office helper and a copy room helper. And my school is smaller than yours. Is there seriously no one else to help?!?

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1,148 Posts; 9,483 Profile Views

I do what I can to help out on busy days but everyone pretty much understands the clinic is my first priority. I am always included in the emails the principal sends out if he needs help with cafe clean up, setting up chairs/tables,car line duty etc but am told that if I have kids in my office not to worry about it - I am rarely assigned a specific job duty outside of my clinic.

I also will help teachers with random things - mainly cutting out laminated stuff or helping the art teacher upload stuff to the art web pages, things I can do sitting in my office during my "down time".

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MrNurse(x2) has 28 years experience as a ADN and specializes in IMC, school nursing.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 2,490 Posts; 9,859 Profile Views

You, unlike all others (unless you have a LSW), hold a license. Incompetence in your job can lead to a bunch of negative consequences and putting that license in jeopardy. I would be very succinct in conveying this very major difference in your responsibilities and ask that you be given a year before becoming a member of the team in terms of responsibility. Nursing, unlike teaching, varies widely from specialty to specialty. Point out that you have no mentor like new teachers do and must learn this on your own, therefore your down time is spent researching for your job (I did this the whole first year). I hope they understand.

Edited by MrNurse(x2)

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SaltineQueen specializes in School Nurse, past Med Surge.

1 Follower; 807 Posts; 6,142 Profile Views

Does your job description say that office coverage is part of your duties, when necessary? I help out, when I can. But my kiddos in my clinic come first, no matter how busy the front office is.

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Blue_Moon has 18 years experience as a BSN, RN.

1 Article; 478 Posts; 5,177 Profile Views

Oh my gosh yes!! My principal expects me to cover the office while the secretary goes to lunch and she (the secretary)covers my office when I go. Only difference is she gets a little stipend to be a trained aide and I don't get jack. So here I am trying to take care of kids while answering the phones and door and sometimes it gets crazy. Thankfully most of the time it's not too bad but it does irritate me. I've asked for parent volunteers to cover the office till I'm blue in the face. I'm also asked to cover it if she has a dr appt or is out of the office for any reason. She actually got mad at me for going to lunch one day because it was busy in the office. Hello- it's not my job to be your assistant! It wasn't like I left her any sick kids to take care of either.

So yes. All the time. Every school I've worked at that has the nurse's office in the main office the principal has asked me to help the secretary. Everything from counting lunch money to watching kids in ISS. Why is it so hard for the secretaries to multi task? They all seem so stressed out. I get stressed doing my job AND theirs. The only time anyone offers to help me is if I'm physically not in the office and a kid comes in for something simple. No one cares if I have a parent on the phone, a kid puking, another bleeding, another crying, another needing meds, etc all at once. Yet if the secretary has the phone ringing, door buzzing, and a late kid well let's all stop and help. I don't even mind helping until it becomes a daily expectation.

Sure I could file a grievance but then it's going to cause hard feelings and I don't want that. My principal has my back with parents and staff so I don't want to strain that but I sure wish they realized what they're asking (and then not). I wish I had some advice for you but I wanted you to know I know how you feel!

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