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Tired of being "the bad guy"...

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Specializes in School Nurse. Has 24 years experience.

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I am tired of being the "bad guy" and I just want to keep our kids safe!  Are the rest of you getting negative feedback from parents when you have to call to tell them their child needs to quarantine due to being a close contact of a positive student?  A lot of the parents are great and understanding, but I have just as many lately that complain about how their child "is hardly ever around that kid" (the one that is positive) or that they have to work and this is hurting their job, and "this is just stupid!  My child is fine!  You all are over-reacting!"  

I have heard every excuse in the book as to why their child shouldn't have to quarantine, and I've been lied to and cursed at over this.  I try to patiently explain that we are following Department of Health and CDC guidelines, and I am very sorry, but we have to follow those rules for everyone's safety.  I would rather have a bunch of parents mad at me for "overreacting" than to not do enough and someone get critically sick with COVID!  I am in a very small town and there is so much drama!  My co-workers and I do our best in identifying close contacts.  We interview teachers, students to the best of our ability (keeping the name of the positive COVID person out of it) and even watch the security camera videos to see what happened in certain situations in order to identify those close contacts.

I've had parents try to talk us into letting their child return from quarantine early with a negative test, though we've been told by the health department that a negative test doesn't get a close contact out of quarantine!  10 days is our district's minimum quarantine for close contacts.  I DO feel for the parents and I DO know it's taking a toll on everyone!  I am sympathetic and I DO care, some days just take the wind out of my sails.  I'm trying not to take it personally.  I'm not the only one getting backlash - all of administration is!   Here's hoping we can put this COVID mess behind us as soon as possible!  

Thank you for letting me vent!!  I knew you all could probably understand my frustration!!

BrisketRN, BSN, RN

Has 4 years experience.

Yes, being the brunt of the anger is tough.  I've shed more tears this year for this job than I ever had in the 3 prior years.  I promise I am just trying to keep our school safe and open.  The thing is most parents are great but getting yelled at even once a day gets under my skin.  I'm trying my best.  Gets hard to pour from an empty cup, right?

raekaylvn, LVN

Specializes in School Nurse, Peds HH, DD. Has 10 years experience.

2 hours ago, caretakerofkids said:

I am tired of being the "bad guy" and I just want to keep our kids safe!  Are the rest of you getting negative feedback from parents when you have to call to tell them their child needs to quarantine due to being a close contact of a positive student?  A lot of the parents are great and understanding, but I have just as many lately that complain about how their child "is hardly ever around that kid" (the one that is positive) or that they have to work and this is hurting their job, and "this is just stupid!  My child is fine!  You all are over-reacting!"  

I have heard every excuse in the book as to why their child shouldn't have to quarantine, and I've been lied to and cursed at over this.  I try to patiently explain that we are following Department of Health and CDC guidelines, and I am very sorry, but we have to follow those rules for everyone's safety.  I would rather have a bunch of parents mad at me for "overreacting" than to not do enough and someone get critically sick with COVID!  I am in a very small town and there is so much drama!  My co-workers and I do our best in identifying close contacts.  We interview teachers, students to the best of our ability (keeping the name of the positive COVID person out of it) and even watch the security camera videos to see what happened in certain situations in order to identify those close contacts.

I've had parents try to talk us into letting their child return from quarantine early with a negative test, though we've been told by the health department that a negative test doesn't get a close contact out of quarantine!  10 days is our district's minimum quarantine for close contacts.  I DO feel for the parents and I DO know it's taking a toll on everyone!  I am sympathetic and I DO care, some days just take the wind out of my sails.  I'm trying not to take it personally.  I'm not the only one getting backlash - all of administration is!   Here's hoping we can put this COVID mess behind us as soon as possible!  

Thank you for letting me vent!!  I knew you all could probably understand my frustration!!

I'm dealing with the exact same things here at my school. I feel ya!

NutmeggeRN, BSN

Specializes in kids. Has 25 years experience.

Yup, the struggle is real. I am so ready for a post Covid world.

cowboysandangels, BSN

Specializes in Peds. Has 21 years experience.

Yes!  I have cried and vowed to quit many days during this.  We have been face to face since August and it has been the biggest nightmare.  I get paid for 7 hours a day but am working around 12.  I am getting messages all week and at all hours from parents.  Our health department does not contact trace so we are doing it all!  Exhausted and frustrated.  No support from the powers that be.  Normally, I love my job.  I came to school nursing because I love the fact that I will be able to make a difference in entire families lives and also give more of myself to my own family.  None of that is happening this year.  Truly dread each day which is sad because up until this, I was excited to go to work every day.  When will this nightmare end?

CrazySchoolNurse, LPN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Emergency Room, School Nurse. Has 8 years experience.

We too have been open full time since August and I am right there with you. 

I am so tired of COVID this, COVID that, why are you picking on my child, why doesn't that child have too, why should I tell you that I am positive, it is none of your business if I am sick, I wasn't feeling good this morning so Mom/Dad told me just to go see the nurse when I get to school,  my child told me that they were in class with a positive person in school so where they allow to be there ( this was just yesterday). I am sure I could add more, but I am sure you all are hearing some of the same and/or more.  

The sad thing is we are a high school 8th- 12th.  Some parents are worse than my 3 yr old when he is throwing a temper tantrum when he is told no you cannot eat candy, cookies, or chips as your dinner.  

We have not have not and will not adopt the new guidelines of shorted quarantine. Which I am completely agree with.  Yesterday I had a parent who was very upset because they decided they were just going to send their child back despite the return date they were given.  Since Mom couldn't get her way she had gone home and told her husband to call me (really just really). He decided to tell me what state policy was and I needed to explain to him why I am not following state policy.  Yeah that conversation did not go in his favor.  He ended up hanging up on me, but not before saying " Fine I am calling you principal."  The outcome was the same.  Student still can't come back till the date that was given.  

This is a truly love it or hate it year,  sadly with more hate then love.  

Dimple58

Specializes in Ortho, Neuro, Trauma, Clinic, School. Has 31 years experience.

I had been getting the bad push back at the beginning from the teachers wanting to know who was quarantined from their classroom and feeling their rights and safety were being infringed upon. Finally, Admin sent out a memo telling the teachers that the HIPAA law wouldn't allow names to be disclosed and that the nurses were doing this extra duty put upon them. Essentially saying, leave them alone they're doing what has been asked by the CDC rules. A few parents with students involved in sports usually gave us an ear full on the phone but most parents were cordial and willing to oblige to what we requested them to do. 

P.S. we have adopted the shorter quarantine,  not by the nurse supervisor's advice but the Supt. made this decision. Prob. why she is resigning, I mean retiring next month. Now after 10 days, they all truck into the clinic to have temps checked, smh. Exposing us more.

Edited by Dimple58
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CrazySchoolNurse, LPN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Emergency Room, School Nurse. Has 8 years experience.

1 hour ago, Dimple58 said:

P.S. we have adopted the shorter quarantine,  not by the nurse supervisor's advice but the Supt. made this decision. Prob. why she is resigning, I mean retiring next month. Now after 10 days, they all truck into the clinic to have temps checked, smh. Exposing us more.

At the risk of sounding trite...  Non medical admin. really need to stay in their lanes.   Things go sideways and we have to try and set it straight.  

It takes one penny to derail a train and takes several cranes to put it back on its tracks. 

Cattz, ADN

Specializes in School Nurse. Having conversations with littles.. Has 35 years experience.

I am so sorry...for everyone involved in this COVID craziness. So far, I have told myself to keep a stiff upper lip and not let a parent think they are getting to me when they go off on me- over something completely out of everyone's control. I listen intently, then pretty much the only answer they get from me is that our hands are tied because we are following CDC (and our Health Departments) guidance.

If there is therapeutic silence, I wait the parent out. 

This too shall pass. My saving grace has been that I have been in this business a long time. What I hope for our nurses that haven't been in the school business very many years, is that you will look back on this COVID craziness and know you are more empowered to navigate the next big crisis.

I am curious- Has it generally been the practice that your Health Departments have the school nurses to make the calls to parents to let them know their child is quarantined? I work in 2 counties. One of them- the Health Department has always made the initial calls. The other started off making the calls, and now they have put that on me. Just curious how that part has gone in general for other schools?

Happy Thursday Friends.

ruralseok, ADN, BSN

Specializes in School Nursing, Public Health. Has 31 years experience.

I feel your frustration. I am in Oklahoma. Oklahoma has the least amount of restrictions. Administration and the school board has adopted the ten day policy. We still quarantine households with a positive family member ten days after the positive family member comes off quarantine. Most people does not understand this. 

The newest information from state government is students and teachers exposed to someone who tests positive for Covid-19 in school are no longer required to be excluded from education activities and in-person classroom instruction as long as the exposure happened in a classroom setting and everyone was wearing masks covering their nose and mouth. Other quarantine requirements remain in effect, including exclusion from social activities or other public environments. 

Students and staff considered exposed to a case of covid -19 within the classroom setting will still require exclusion from other high-risk school activities where masking is either not feasible or is not know to be effective at preventing transmission (ie., band, choir, PE, and sports.)

The new quarantine guidance is contingent upon both the case and contacts wearing masks and is intended ONLY for exposures that occur in classrooms,

This has only added more drama and excuses for people to argue with that "mask loving nurse". 

Feeling all of the above after an especially rough week. Hang in there everyone!

We do not have a health department in our county.  I’m in a high school with 2600 kids and 200 staff members.  I am *this close* to not doing anymore contact tracing.  I don’t have time for any of my other job duties.  Athletics doesn’t let me quarantine those that need to quarantine, and I’ve seen time and time again kids that are supposed to be quarantining are out with their friends off campus and end up getting it and spreading it around.   If something doesn’t give, I don’t know if I can come back in the fall.  

laflaca, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 7 years experience.

23 hours ago, BrookieRN84 said:

We do not have a health department in our county.  I’m in a high school with 2600 kids and 200 staff members.  I am *this close* to not doing anymore contact tracing.  I don’t have time for any of my other job duties.  Athletics doesn’t let me quarantine those that need to quarantine, and I’ve seen time and time again kids that are supposed to be quarantining are out with their friends off campus and end up getting it and spreading it around.   If something doesn’t give, I don’t know if I can come back in the fall.  

I understand your frustration. Our public health dept gave up contact tracing months ago, and pushed it on to school nurses. But we're 100% reliant on self-reporting from kids/families soooo....yeah.

I'm not allowed to handle any athletics exposures (which have been the vast majority of exposures in our schools). Admin and the coaches decide who's exposed, they send an exposure letter that doesn't use the word "quarantine," and they let me do the data entry for public health reporting.  We have full-on Winter sports, including wrestling.

Honestly I'm not sure I'm coming back in the fall either.  I'm not sure I'm going to even be a nurse. 

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

9 hours ago, laflaca said:

I understand your frustration. Our public health dept gave up contact tracing months ago, and pushed it on to school nurses. But we're 100% reliant on self-reporting from kids/families soooo....yeah.

I'm not allowed to handle any athletics exposures (which have been the vast majority of exposures in our schools). Admin and the coaches decide who's exposed, they send an exposure letter that doesn't use the word "quarantine," and they let me do the data entry for public health reporting.  We have full-on Winter sports, including wrestling.

Honestly I'm not sure I'm coming back in the fall either.  I'm not sure I'm going to even be a nurse. 

Do you have some way of documenting this insanity for your own records? It sounds like a situation that could go south, quickly. THEN watch the pointing fingers fly.

(Glad to know that athletics trumps public health- it's important to know a district's priorities...)

What part of the country are you in?

NutmeggeRN, BSN

Specializes in kids. Has 25 years experience.

Student advised close contact, on a plane south the next day...

Student travelling, parent advised of post travel Q rules "We'll see about THAT" mmmkay....

Aye yay yay....

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

I honestly don't envy school nurse jobs, especially with this going on. (((HUGS))) to you all. It's hard enough in the dialysis clinics where patients and families lie about exposure, but were the ones just last week stating they would come clean out the clinic if "mom" got it from another sick patient. In our state, the sick patients go to a clinic that is set up for covid positives and those under investigation. No one wants to travel, causing the lies.

Having someone take control out of your hands but expect you to control the situation...grrrrrr. I don't have words for the craziness. I just hope it gets better for all of us soon

NutmeggeRN, BSN

Specializes in kids. Has 25 years experience.

12 minutes ago, Hoosier_RN said:

I honestly don't envy school nurse jobs, especially with this going on. (((HUGS))) to you all. It's hard enough in the dialysis clinics where patients and families lie about exposure, but were the ones just last week stating they would come clean out the clinic if "mom" got it from another sick patient. In our state, the sick patients go to a clinic that is set up for covid positives and those under investigation. No one wants to travel, causing the lies.

Having someone take control out of your hands but expect you to control the situation...grrrrrr. I don't have words for the craziness. I just hope it gets better for all of us soon

Thanks! at least one upside is that in a school system (especially a small one) someone ALWAYS talks!!! FIbbers gonna fib, but we are gonna catch most of them!!

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

16 minutes ago, NutmeggeRN said:

Thanks! at least one upside is that in a school system (especially a small one) someone ALWAYS talks! FIbbers gonna fib, but we are gonna catch most of them!!

We catch ours when asking screening questions. " do you or anyone you are in close contact with have covid or covid symptoms?"  Answer "no, but my daughter Mary came this weekend to give my daughter Sue a break. Mary has Covid, but says it's no big deal since she doesn't live at my address. We didn't wear masks, because she is my daughter, we have the same germs". Of course, patient has fever on arrival to clinic. Frustrating!  At least I don't have to do contact tracing on top of it!