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Nursing is like a four year old vision screening

Nurses Article   (6,662 Views | 11 Replies | 495 Words)
by cav5 cav5 Member Nurse

cav5 has 13 years experience and specializes in School Nurse; ICU.

4 Articles; 5,231 Profile Views; 68 Posts

Describes how being a school nurse really is very much like how a four year old looks at life-varying, unpredictable, and almost always never looking at the same thing twice (at least not the same way)

Nursing is like a four year old vision screening

As a school nurse, a lot of people (including many other nurses) ask me what I do all day and I never really know what to tell them. Because, you see, every minute of every day is very different.

You can go from putting on a Band-Aid to a life threatening allergic reaction in the space of mere minutes. You can go from a lice screening to treating a four year old diabetic who "can't feel his legs" in a matter of moments.

Then, there are the subtle things-the things all nurses who have a year or two of experience under their belt just know-the "more" that you can't put a name to. It is the feeling that a stomach ache isn't just a stomach ache; a bruise isn't just a bruise.

Then, one day, it hit me-school nursing is like a four year old vision screening. To the rest of the world the screener is just a plastic card with four mundane symbols of a heart, a circle, a house, and a square. However, to the eyes of a four year old, it is a never-ending supply of different items. To a four year old the circle could be anything form a hole, to a magnifying glass, to a round-a-bout to a ...well... a circle. A house could be a home, a dog house, a "mommy and daddy", or a shed.

This is my job. When a child comes into the health office with abdominal pain it could be the flu, constipation, a pregnancy, or appendicitis. However, it could also be a child's way of saying they have had no breakfast (for a day, a week, or a month). Or, that they found out, too late, that although they have finally won the battle with their mother to walk and stay home alone that they are now too scared to do so.

Ethically, all nursing specialties have their own unique challenges. To me, it is never leaving for lunch because there is not another nurse in the building. It is never taking a half day off for the same reason. It is knowing that I cannot, not for one second, forget to treat other people's children like they were my own.

But most of all, it is knowing that each child, each assessment, should be seen like a four year old sees that plastic card- because the day I start seeing just a circle, a square, a house, or a heart is the day that I will most certainly miss the real problem lurking underneath. Ethically, the day I see just those four mundane objects is the day I have to put that white plastic screener down.

Now, when people ask me what I do all day I smile and say I do a lot of different things but mostly, mostly I do four year old vision screenings.

I currently work overseas as a school nurse. previous to that I worked in the ICU.

4 Articles; 5,231 Profile Views; 68 Posts

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merlee has 36 years experience.

1,246 Posts; 13,510 Profile Views

Excellent! You got it just right - - school nursing is so much more complex than meets the eye!

Thank you for finding a way to convey that information.

Best wishes!

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rdsxfnrn has 10 years experience.

309 Posts; 11,088 Profile Views

very nice!

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Purple_Scrubs has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in School Nursing.

2 Articles; 1,978 Posts; 21,675 Profile Views

Wonderful article, I might print this and put it on my bulletin board! It is easy to forget that even "frequent fliers" get sick sometimes too. I am not too proud to admit that as I was lecturing a ff about missing so much class, the thermometer popped up with 101.0 :uhoh3:

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4 Posts; 596 Profile Views

Really your article is very amazing! I enjoyed a lot of things about realization of a school nurse .

Thanks

From Bangladesh

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cav5 has 13 years experience and specializes in School Nurse; ICU.

4 Articles; 68 Posts; 5,231 Profile Views

Trust me purple scrubs, I have been there! I once told a frequent flyer she would be OK and that she could tell her mom when she got home-she walked two steps and threw up in my doorway! Not my finest moment. Needless to say, keeping us humble and on our toes is another thing those kids do:)

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PostOpPrincess has 19 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in M/S, MICU, CVICU, SICU, ER, Trauma, NICU.

2,211 Posts; 12,113 Profile Views

Awesome! Those kiddies keep you hopping, don't they?

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3 Followers; 4,560 Posts; 35,726 Profile Views

This was very moving and informative. God bless you, OP, as you put your heart and soul into your work every day. I hope my loved ones and I, should we need nurses, always have a nurse like you, a nurse who cares and is very intelligent.

While you might not be diagnosing or doing a differential diagnosis officially, you are on the front line - triaging, screening, referring appropriately. An unsung heroine.

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62 Posts; 2,370 Profile Views

Lice-YUK! Makes my eyebrows itch to think of them. I know School Nurses make a difference because I worked with another ER Nurse years ago. Her son had fallen from his bicycle and was a little banged up, but seemed OK when he went to bed. He skipped breakfast and went to school in the a.m., but felt lousy (sorry) late in the a.m. The School RN noticed pallor and that his stomach was firm and got in touch with Mom who took him to the E.R. He had a ruptureed spleen.

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mustlovepoodles is a RN and specializes in OB/GYN, Peds, School Nurse, DD.

1,041 Posts; 9,760 Profile Views

Trust me purple scrubs, I have been there! I once told a frequent flyer she would be OK and that she could tell her mom when she got home-she walked two steps and threw up in my doorway! Not my finest moment. Needless to say, keeping us humble and on our toes is another thing those kids do:)

LOL, I have been there and done that! I'm usually pretty saavy to illness but I've missed a few only to have them throw up in the classroom when they got back. Thankfully, my teachers are very understanding.

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ChristinP has 6 years experience and specializes in Homecare, Public Health.

89 Posts; 4,930 Profile Views

It's all true! I've done pre-k EIP to 12th grade. Health screening, lice checks, pregnancies, tummy aches, seizures, allergies, tube feedings, meds, meds & more meds. The list is never ending!

My absolute favorite visit... A 4 year old is brought in by the teacher assistant teary eyed and c/o headache. As I'm taking her temp I notice how tight the elastics and hair braids are. I remove the elastics from her hair and loosen the braids and she instantly melts into my arms with a big thank-you. She happily returned to class :)

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1 Post; 541 Profile Views

This is my 6th year as a school nurse and I totally agree, you definetely have to look "outside the box".

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