Help! New School Nurse in Trouble!!

  1. I am a brand spanking new school nurse (and I've only been an RN for 2 years to boot!). I feel blessed and so lucky that I am now one of the few, the underappreciated, the school nurses.

    Here's the problem: I was hired 3 weeks before school started. The old school nurse retired in June and moved out west somewhere. She had worked at the school since before I was born. Apparently, she was quite the mystery woman and no one knows exactly what she did or how she did it. Well I'm finding out the hard way. I am over whelmed with paper work that is unfamiliar and if that weren't bad enough, I'm the truant officer as well!! The elementary school nurse (I am the nurse for 7th - 12th grades) helps when she can but she is overwhelmed too.

    I'm trying my best and so far the students have been the least of my worries. The parents are another story...

    I'd appreciate any advice or good luck wishes that anyone can offer.

  2. Visit Mrs.B profile page

    About Mrs.B

    Joined: Oct '02; Posts: 30; Likes: 1
    RN @ Hampton Bays HS


  3. by   WashYaHands
    I wish you lots of luck. I understand that it is overwhelming, and can still be overwhelming even after you have some experience. Is there a policy/procedure manual that the previous nurse left behind? If not, does the school district administration have one? Are there other nurses in your district or in another district that can go over the forms and procedures with you? Or, maybe a school health advisory committee that can be of assistance? These are just some suggestions, let us know how it goes. Perhaps some of the other posters can provide some additional guidance. Hang in there. Feel free to ask questions anytime.

  4. by   MomNRN
    Welcome to school nursing. I too am a new nurse (18 months) and school nursing (10 months). I love my job! You are right - I swear 90% of my job is paperwork! Keep your eye out for a manual. We have one and I call it "the bible." Good luck.
  5. by   school angel7

    Im a schoolnurse here in our country,Ive been here for 5 years.
    Wishing you luck and GodBless!
  6. by   Mrs.B
    Thanks everyone. I got hold of my policy book today and found that a lot of the info in it is VERY outdated. I'm working on contacting the NYS dept of ed on getting updated materials. It seems as if the old nurse just lost her thunder about 10 years ago and gave up! Is that what I have to look forward to?

    Also, I feel as if I'm sending a lot of kids home everyday. One of the secretaries told me not to worry that it's ultimately the parents responsiblility to decide whether or not they want to pick their kids up.

    How often is it necessary to make follow up calls to parents after a child injures themselves? Should I be calling the parents of every student no matter how minor the injury? I've just been using my gut instinct (!!!) about this

    Do any of you out there do inservices for staff on infection control / universal precautions etc? The old nurse never did any such thing and I thought it would be helpful to the faculty and staff.
  7. by   cpgrn
    I know exactly how you feel. I started this job 4 years ago with no orientation or training. I struggled for the first 2 years. Now I know what to expect. I say just do what you can, read and make your own job description according to the needs of the students. I train in blood borne pathogens every year - just a basic run through. I am also certified to teach first aid, adult and child cpr and aed. I run myself crazy with sick children and head lice but its the only job I have ever had that understands if your child or you are sick. Its also great to have the holidays and weekends plus summers off. Hang in there and take it one day at a time. There's always next year!
  8. by   valk
    Welcome to school nursing and allnurses It can't be easy starting from scratch. Here are some ideas that may help.
    1. You should have a health record for each student, check them against your class lists to verify compliance with immunizations and ppd. List any recorded health problems for follow up.
    2.Don't feel bad about having to send kids home, some parents are not sure the child is really ill so they send them to school knowing they may get a call from the nurse.
    3. Keep a log of visitors to your office.
    4.Policy here is to follow up on injuries only if the child was sent home.
    5.Speak to the principal about addressing a faculty meeting to speak about universal precautions etc.
    Good luck, Mrs. B. Come back & let us know how it's going.
  9. by   MomNRN
    Mrs. B we send home a note if there is blood or bruising. Our school is a special ed school, so we are pretty diligent with keeping parents informed - not that it always makes a difference!
  10. by   moyesrn
    I know how you feel. I was hired just this year for 6th-12th grade school nurse. Wyoming has few regulations for school nurses so I'm not always sure how to go about everything. I find my job to be kinda lonly. My office is set back from the rest of the school. I am a 3year post graduate nurse but I had 1 yr off due to a severe concussion. My short term memory is affected so I have some challenges with that. I had worked at a long term care facillity. I had other staff to talk to. I also struggle with f very controlling secretary that wants to do everyones job along with hers. Well just wanted to say Hi mostly good luck for this school year. I really like the site. moyesrn
  11. by   Mrs.B
    Moyesrn -I find it lonely at times too. It's hard being the only "medical" person in the building. The only teachers that ever come to visit me are the PE teachers b/c of all the injuries in their classes. Even then it's just to pick up an incident report!
    I find that talking to the students makes the time pass. If there's a young person in my office for some real or imagined illness, I try to connect with them in some way. I've learned some pretty interesting things about how the teenage mind works....

    I'm sorry that you've got a controlling secretary at your school. I wouldn't have survived the first couple of weeks at school if it weren't for the "girls" in the main office. They are so helpful and have gone out of their way to make me feel at home. Also, they know all the "dirt" and hx about the students. Like, who has a tough home life, who's gonna be the next ax murderer, who's spoiled rotten, the one's with the crazy parents etc.

    Thanks again to everybody for the support and great tips!!
  12. by   MomNRN
    After reading your posts, I feel lucky. I work at a special ed school with about 130 students. I am fortunate to work with another nurse. With the children we serve, there is no way we would be able to have only one nurse. We are also connected to the main office. I can't imagine being off by myself! Have a good week!
  13. by   JailRN
    When my oldest son was in a military school, they tried to recruit me to be their "medic" (RN). I almost took the job, until the retiring medic took me into the med room, There were 180 boys K-8 grades, 175 of them were on meds, 125 of them were resident students so, I can pour meds and the nuns will dispense them at night and early morning. I ran like heck and went to work in a jail, not much different, just a little older.
  14. by   renerian
    Paperwork that is unfamiliar can be daunting. Can P&P help you any?

    The truency officer was always very busy in my opinion. Probably hard to do both isn't it?