Returning to school after devastating Camp Fire

  1. Hi all,

    I live in Butte County, California which as you probably have heard in the news we have been absolutely devastated by the Camp Fire. It literally has wiped our town of Paradise off the map. Over 70 dead, still over 1000 missing... 10,000+ homes destroyed, 400+ businesses... when I say the town is wiped out I mean it is literally gone. Of course this also means the school district has lost its schools. The fire still threatens structures and we are literally being suffocated by the smoke (we've had hazardous smoke conditions for so many days now). School has been cancelled in our entire county until December 3rd.

    I am thinking about when I return to school. I am a brand new school nurse (and nurse) and I know we will be having some new enrolling students to my schools from the town of Paradise. I want to be as helpful as possible and mindful of what they are going through.

    I need advice as I try to anticipate what this may be like. For those with meds to be given at school -I'll still need a med order but how are they supposed to get that since their doctors are displaced and the medical facilities burned down?? What other issues may arise from this that I can't anticipate right now? I want to be as prepared as possible. Thank you for any help you can give!!
  2. Visit naveiak profile page

    About naveiak, BSN

    Joined: Oct '15; Posts: 37; Likes: 50

    21 Comments

  3. by   angeloublue22
    That is wonderful that you thinking ahead like this. You have some legitimate concerns and some I don't have advice for. I'm not a school nurse so I'm not sure but are there any temp or on-call providers that could provide orders if needed? The one thing I can offer is make sure to brush up on you're therapeutic communication skills and trauma informed care because these kids and parents are more than likely going to some trauma that's going to need to be addressed. This may not be up your alley but it may be a good idea, if they haven't already, to start some kind of support group for these parents and kids. They might also be hurting for basic medical supplies, especially diabetes supplies, inhalers, nebulizers, etc. Would your local hospitals be able to donate these to help? What an awful thing to go through. I wish you the best and thank you for helping these people. I wish I could be more help.
  4. by   BunnyBunnyBSNRN
    Talk to your nursing supervisor about this. Health Services is the department that sets policy for medication administration at school, so they will need to revise the policy, at least temporarily, to allow parental ok to give medication in the school setting. Also, reach out to a local pediatrician's office to see if they have started seeing patients from Paradise and, if they will be able to help with a med order.
  5. by   Farawyn
    I'm so sorry. This is completely devastating.
    I would look at your state website and see if there is an emergency response hotline for the schools and hospitals affected.

    Yes, get on board with SW about post trauma. Check in with your local DOH.
    The med orders will have to stand. You cannot dispense meds without an order. This will be post trauma, and meds will need to be ordered.
    Document your butt off.

    Talk with other local nurses and brainstorm.

    Are YOU okay?
  6. by   JenTheSchoolRN
    Quote from Farawyn

    Are YOU okay?
    This. I am sending so many hugs your way.

    I would also see if perhaps one of your local pedi offices can help you and work with this displaced families to get some orders in place. This will be helpful not only for you, but the families that perhaps lost meds and need replacements/refills.
  7. by   Emergent
    I think there will be some PTSD among the students. They lost everything, and endured a frightening escape. They may have known people who were burned alive. Some may also have lost their pets.
  8. by   Emergent
    California fires: 'Bus driver from heaven' Kevin McKay rescued young children - CNN

    Here is an account of the escape of one busload of children
  9. by   OldDude
    We accepted more displaced students than our facilities could handle after Hurricane Harvey; students sitting on the floor in classrooms, extended lunch shifts, extended bus routes, etc...madness - but the students, both sides of the coin, handled it well with some exceptions of course, but friendships were made and some families moved here and never went back "home."

    Our Governor temporarily suspended immunization and proof of residency requirements in the affected counties and since we were declared a federal disaster area meals for the students at school were free.

    We do not require a MD order to administer OTC meds and, in the case of RX meds, the prescription label suffices as the MD order so individual medications were not a substantial problem.

    As Emergent said, there are going to be some emotionally fragile students in that "fire" is a horrific and terrifying event so it'll be all hands on deck with counseling and the like.

    Your school district has the most power in alleviating your medication issue, RE MD order, they could easily suspend the requirement temporarily, or if it's a state requirement they could do the same...remember, if the MD didn't order the medication to be given as directed on the RX label, you would not have it to give.

    Good luck...may God's Grace offer comfort and healing for all those affected by this devastating event.
  10. by   NutmeggeRN
    Utilize your state association for guidance as well as the BON. And use the workarounds that you can...if you have the medication, and a label, go for it. Trauma-informed care brush up is a must. And You need to care for YOU as well!!!!!
    Sending big hugs to form the northeast!
  11. by   nmr79
    Wow, I can't even imagine what you and your community are going through. You are proving your dedication by even worrying about the logistics. I hope you, personally, are okay.
    I agree with what others have said about deferring to your district for counseling, and to the county/state requirements for medications and permits. Good luck.
  12. by   OyWithThePoodles
    ((((HUGS))))

    Goodness, I agree with the above posters, especially OD when he said that if it has the rx label, you know they need it, parent brings it in pretty much means they are giving permission. This is a state of emergency and I applaud you thinking ahead as a new school nurse.

    Please be sure that you are caring for you, not just physically with enough sleep, but mentally as well. You are seeing and going through a lot right now. Talk with someone. Love and prayers.
  13. by   naveiak
    Quote from BunnyBunnyBSNRN
    Talk to your nursing supervisor about this. Health Services is the department that sets policy for medication administration at school, so they will need to revise the policy, at least temporarily, to allow parental ok to give medication in the school setting. Also, reach out to a local pediatrician's office to see if they have started seeing patients from Paradise and, if they will be able to help with a med order.
    Hi there. I don't have a nursing supervisor... it's literally just me and 1400+ (soon to be more) students. Love your advice about reaching out to local peds offices! Thank you so much!
  14. by   naveiak
    Quote from Farawyn
    I'm so sorry. This is completely devastating.
    I would look at your state website and see if there is an emergency response hotline for the schools and hospitals affected.

    Yes, get on board with SW about post trauma. Check in with your local DOH.
    The med orders will have to stand. You cannot dispense meds without an order. This will be post trauma, and meds will need to be ordered.
    Document your butt off.

    Talk with other local nurses and brainstorm.

    Are YOU okay?
    Thank you for your advice!! It is devastating for sure! I actually have my brother, his wife and their two special needs children staying in our home because they lost everything in the fire. It's been very difficult. We are doing ok... THANK YOU for asking! So many people are homeless and camping in parking lots in the surrounding towns. I have no words. When I was in nursing school I precepted with an amazing school nurse who is the reason I decided to become a school nurse. I call her for advice every day. She lost her home in the fire as well. I'm not sure if she'll be going back to work. I'll be lost without her!!

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