Not sure what to feel


  • Specializes in School, Hospice, Triage. Has 13 years experience.

I had to take a personal/family ill day Friday. My grandfather had Mitral and CABG open heart. A student was throwing cheetos in the air and catching them in his mouth at lunch in the cafeteria. He lodged one and lost color. I was told the security and lunch aides kept calling for the nurse on the radio. Most everyone knew I was gone. Everyone ran to his assistance. The security guard dislodged the cheeto. The student never lost consciousness, thank God, and thank the staff efforts. I returned to school today. Many have come by my office to tell me what happened "when you were gone". My secretary came in to ask for a donation for the Hero Luncheon today. They are having a potluck to honor the security guard. He came to my office a few minutes ago, laughing, and states "did you hear what I did? We don't even need you anymore, you could just go home". (!!!!!) I gruffed back, "OK, sit down right here, I'll leave." Now-- I am so shocked by my reaction to this whole thing. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't live with the alternative outcome of this situation. We as school nurses, do so many things that prevent catastrophe. It is expected: it's why I'm a nurse: it's what we do: it's why we are here. I guess some of the feelings I'm having is because I don't even get a card on Nurse's day. No thank you, no good job. I go unnoticed until a someone needs me, or a parent calls. I was worried about not being here in the first place. In my building we have a SW a couple days a week. When she isn't here the jobs falls on me. Many days I don't even get out of my office. Have any of you ever felt like this? I have contradicting reactions and I can't put my finger on it. Thank you!!

Purple_Scrubs, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 1,978 Posts

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 8 years experience.

Oh boy, do I hear you. I would feel the same as you. Something major happens the one day you are not there, someone else takes care of it and they are the hero. Bow down and worship the hero who saved the day! But you are the one who is there day in and day out, taking care of the little and big issues and you get NO credit whatsoever. That sucks.

So, I for one want to give you the credit you deserve. YOU are the hero! YOU work your tail off for those kids every day, with little credit or thanks. You deserve the recognition, because anyone can step up ONE time and do something great, but YOU do great things for those kids every day. So this is for you: :clpty:

Flare, ASN, BSN

5 Articles; 4,431 Posts

Specializes in school nursing, ortho, trauma.

The life of a school nurse is a lonely one and a complex one. You become the end all and be all of health knowledge for not only the students but also for staff and parents looking to score some free medical advice. And it usually takes some sort of tragedy or near miss for people to appreciate the value of the school nurse. Except you ended up missing the near miss so it compounds the issue because now Hank the security guard is now the savior.

I understand how you feel - most people don't even know that there is a nurse's day. At the holidays the students will sometimes bring in little tchotchkes or cookies for everyone on earth, but usually the nurse is forgotten. We develop thick skin over this but on the inside we just want to feel a little appreciation.

It makes me wonder if you had been the one to heimlich the student would they be planning a pot luck or would it have been simply another one of the various functions of your job? I think we both already know the answer.

My advice to you is to keep a good sense of humor about the entire thing. You are entitled to a day off and in your absence the school really should look to have a substitute. But this can also serve as a positive for the masses - take the opportunity of the pot luck to reinforce that the heimlich manuver (as well as CPR and AED use) is really easy to learn and maybe see if you can get some staff to sign up for some classes.

Chin up, you're in good company!


28 Posts

Specializes in School Nurse, NICU. Has 7 years experience.

This is a very thankless job--it is one of the reasons I am leaving. The only time I hear from a parent is when they are angry and when teachers send students to my office and don't like my evaluation they are all of a sudden experts!! Know that all the other school nurses out there appreciate all you do!!!!!! This is an awesome forum to get to vent/relate to eachother--wish i would have found it sooner!!

Specializes in OB/GYN, Peds, School Nurse, DD.

Yes, I have experienced the same thing. It really is frustrating when you give everything you can and you don't get any notice. My DH sends me flowers on School Nurse's Day--do you think that prompts anybody? Nooo. I think it's because a nurse doesn't fit into the education model. They really don't think of the nurse as part of the team, unless there's seizure or somebody vomits in the front office. THe school nurse is simply an add-on, kinda like the school custodian or the nameless lunch ladies. Of course, the KIDS don't feel that way. The kids love the school nurse, for varied reasons. All of the recognitions I have ever received have been from kids and their parents, NEVER ONCE from administration. Occasionally I have gotten a good pat-on-the-back from a teacher who found themselves in a bad situation, but admin carries on like I'm a liability. I even had an administrator grouse because she thought I called 911 too much. Well. I was seeing 1,500 students and staff every month. It stands to reason that there may be a few true emergencies. I averaged calling EMS once a month, roughly 8 times a year. I don't consider that "too much" in a school of >1,000 souls.

Anyway, sometimes is enough to know that you DO contribute in a major way, whether you receive any recognition or not. I'm reallly glad that you have personnel in your school that *are* trained to respond--think of how bad that could have been! So Mr. Security is the man of the hour. You know what? Let him bask in the sunshine. He probably doesn't get that often. WHen they joke about they don't need you?They don't *really* mean that. THey're just proud that they handled a scary situation. Believe me, if that kid had died right there in their arms they would be crying today in your office.:crying2:

Take heart. Only 16 weeks until summer :yeah:

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

165 Articles; 21,214 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Don't you think too its the perception that there may not be a school nurse? My husband is a high school teacher in a school with 2200 students and there isn't a nurse. Our kids never had a school nurse either in any school they went too and since we were in the military, they went to many different schools.

So...maybe its not that its overlooked but rather that no one knows you are there?

Specializes in OB/GYN, Peds, School Nurse, DD.
Don't you think too its the perception that there may not be a school nurse? My husband is a high school teacher in a school with 2200 students and there isn't a nurse. Our kids never had a school nurse either in any school they went too and since we were in the military, they went to many different schools.

So...maybe its not that its overlooked but rather that no one knows you are there?

That very well could be. At my last school several of the staff didn't realize that a nurse had to go to college~! I was floored! But you know, they are so NOT healthcare oriented they just don't think about it. As long as nobody's throwing up or bleeding on their carpet they just don't see it.

In my case, I think I just couldn't make a dent in the very tight office clique. The teachers loved me and some of them nearly worshipped me for pulling their kids out of the fire. But the office staff remembered "how it used to be" when there was no nurse and they just dealt with things by putting a bandaid on it or sending them home. So they really didn't "get" what a real nurse does and what their responsibilities are. I never could make my princiipal understand that I was required by my license to assess each and every child who crosses my threshold. That it wasn't as simple as putting an ice pack on it and sending them back to class. Or just tossing them an inhaler and being done with it. She not only didn't get it, she was an ex-PE teacher of the "put some dirt on it and shake it off" mindset. I'd have kids in the clinic coughing up blood after PE and my principal would tell people I was babying students. :mad: And they wonder why I didn't come back.


325 Posts

Specializes in school RN, CNA Instructor, M/S.

Been there Felt that This is for you! :redbeathe:bowingpur:bowingpur:bowingpur:monkeydance::smiley_aa:nmbrn::hgu::clpty::w00t::w00t::w00t::w00t::w00t::yelclap::kiss:cheers:

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 23 years experience.

Surprising that is is OK to go without a sub for the nurse but if any teacher wasn't there, there would be a sub. Maybe the security guard could fill in for math next time. Sorry, just being sarcastic, and I am glad there was a good outcome. Unfortunately, If you are looking for ANY type of recognition, you are in the wrong job. We are the extra paycheck the school board is forced to pay.

On a more cheerful note, I try to focus on the fact that I DO make a difference in kids lives everyday. The kids appreciate you.


41 Posts

Specializes in community health. Has 12 years experience.

I totally understanad what you are saying. I get a little tired of hearing about all the stuff that happend when I'm not here ( I work part time at a pvt school) and how they could have use me.

sorry but you guys only pay me to be here 15 hrs a week.

the other thing is, I don't think the security guard is a hero, he just did his job. where I work all the teachers and staff are CPR certified.

I would think that every staff member there should have been able to help that child.