SCHOOL NURSES "NOT CONSIDERED FRONT-LINE"???

Posted

Specializes in Disaster Medicine / Public Health / School Health. Has 27 years experience.

I was talking to a supervisor about re-entry and they mentioned suppliers of N-95 masks were not selling to schools because school nurses are not considered front-line workers? Has anyone else heard anything about this? I think any nurse in a school with hundreds of students and staff and multiple daily interactions with ill students is certainly front-line. It would be very difficult to wear an N-95 nonstop all day and I really feel for nurses who must, but I think we should have them available for use during clinic visits and while ill students wait in the clinic to be picked up.

shark_nurse14, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nursing. Has 6 years experience.

I haven't heard anything like this, and our district has been able to obtain N95s.

I agree, we are certainly first responders! I see these kids before 911 is called, before the paramedics arrive, before they are considered inpatient in a hospital...doesn't get more frontline than that if you ask me.

There may be a concern for selling N95s to schools as districts may be trying to buy for more than just nursing staff? I don't know, I'm at a loss. If they truly feel we aren't first responders it's due to their ignorance and isn't a true reflection of our profession and specialty.

BostonRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER, critical care, PACU, fertility, school nursing. Has 10 years experience.

Children are said to be carriers of higher viral load. I think they are absolutely front line.

nursetlm, ADN

Has 9 years experience.

We were told that we would each be getting one- because they are having us do the sentinel testing on staff. 

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing.

I was able to get some. If your school has an Amazon business account, you can actually get them from there. Now fit testing...that is a different story. I started by measuring folks and using that as a guide for size to buy. Yes, I will try and work with my fire department, but you also need extra masks to fit test with, of course.

However, I will say I don't have a lot of them (about 60 right now for 4 nursing staff), nor a way like hospitals have to re-sanitize them. I will be using the technique with the plastic container for sure. 

But I also won't be wearing them for every student encounter. I've been to several PDs in my area, including a recent one run by Children's here in Boston, and I can safely use a surgical mask and shield/googles (or a KN95 and shield/googles) with any other needed PPE for at least 80% of what I will do. I'm saving my N95s for prolonged time (>10 minutes) in my isolation space with symptomatic students, certain assessments for symptomatic students, or for aerosolized procedures (one of most common one in our practice being nebs, though docs are switching kids to MDIs as much as possible). 

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing.

To add to this thread, just was on a call where I was told that school nurse MAY be considered close contacts despite PPE, then pointed to CDC data...

...that told me (what I knew) that in health care situations where staff is critically needed and back-up is hard to get, even if they are a close contact, health care workers may work wearing PPE if they continue to be asymptomatic (both while awaiting test results and if results are negative, disregarding the 14 day quarantine). 

Which I was like ::head desk.:: Because in school nursing, it is never hard to find back-up, right? I love some docs that clearly never spent time inside a school because more than one of them then talked about school nurses doing exams using social distancing... </sarcasm>

I stand by my above posting...

Edited by JenTheSchoolRN

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing. Has 12 years experience.

We just got the TDH guidance for hearing/vision/scoliosis screening.

"Put an x on the floor where the student is to stand and another x six feet away where the screener will stand to encourage social distancing."

Yup.

nursetlm, ADN

Has 9 years experience.

I wondered about these screenings.