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What's the biggest challenge being a school nurse?

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Hi fellow school nurses!

I was wondering what's the biggest challenge for you while working in a school environment? I'm currently working in a elementary school as an LVN and I love it. Im considering going back for my RN and get my nurse credential to work as a school nurse. Im under the supervision of a RN. The reason I'm asking is because my RN looks stress all the time, but not in a bad way. She tells me she loves her job but she has apart from my school, three other schools assigned. I would love some feedback or experiences from your fellow school nurses on how you handle stress or certain situations with parents or teachers.

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Whelp...today it was keeping a straight face as the teachers and kids began to unravel. I mean UNWOUND, like George Strait sings it.

And I only have one school.

It's a high PR job, school nursing. A few will tell you when you did something well; EVERYONE will tell you when you did something they didn't like.

Parents- you can't care more about their kid than they do. Document EVERYTHING. Enlist admin if needed. If admin are part of the problem then find a new campus.

Teachers - Document EVERYTHING. Mention "losing valuable classroom time" as much as is needed. Liberally and generously call them if you have questions (such as "what am I missing here- these two girls you sent down together are having a great time chatting in my clinic but what's up?")

Give grace to everyone. Likely you'll need some back. Good luck!

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Ruby said it in a nutshell! I love [almost all] my kids, and most of their families. My favorite thing is knowing that my presence here makes a real difference in their safety, health, and lives.

My least favorite thing is everything that goes along with making sure I can keep them healthy and safe. I hate all the red tape, the politics, that paperwork, etc. And there are a couple families that I really could do without!

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(such as "what am I missing here- these two girls you sent down together are having a great time chatting in my clinic but what's up?")

I love this! What a great approach to asking why a student or students were sent to the health office!

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I love this! What a great approach to asking why a student or students were sent to the health office!

I never did this in high school. Mostly the kids self-referred and many did this on their lunch time or breaks. But...really? TWO? Who appear to be acutely well, are afebrile, and are enjoying "cot time"??? Nah. I'm missing something or you got duped, teacher.

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I go between 2 schools. I run the health office out of one school, but still have to be the nurse (ie, all of the nursing responsibilities minus taking health office visits) at the other. My biggest challenge would be a lack of communication, especially when it comes to IEP meeting times and forgetting to include me until last minute. I can't totally blame them though...out of sight, out of mind.

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ruby summed it up.

Parents irk the crap out of me. Some teachers drive me nuts with inane stuff. Some really are awesome. But parent, sheesh I could write a 10 page paper about the nonsense they pull.

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Stress, and/or the response to the work environment is greatly influenced by your own frame of reference. I see a lot of postings about nurses having to deal with goofy things like paper cuts, or two or three students showing up at the same time, or parents that are a PIA. However, I think to myself, "wow, they are paying me to put a band aid on a paper cut!" When I worked in ICU, I had to turn patients every two hours, sometimes these patients weighed upwards of 300 pounds and I had to enlist 3-4 other nurses to help me. I had to clean poop and empty foley bags. If I had a patient in isolation I had to dress in PPE head to toe everytime I walked in the room, and if I forgot something or needed more supplies I had to undress and redress everytime. If someone needed a stat CT I had to push the thousand pound bed all the way to the CT department, help transfer the patient and then back. All this with angry family members constantly watching every move you make because they just KNOW that you are going to do something terrible to their loved one. NOTHING I have encountered in school nursing even comes close to the stress levels of hospital nursing. Granted, if I chose school nursing fresh out of school, I probably would feel like I was missing out on REAL nursing, and cool stuff like the excitement of the ER, or the specialized skills of ICU. So I did all that, and I'm glad I did. However, nursing has changed big time, and nurses are burning out big time. So if you like school nursing, count your blessings, stick with it, and have fun!

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I need to read Nursy's comment every day! Easy to forget that a bad day in school nursing is ALWAYS better than a day in the hospital!

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Stress, and/or the response to the work environment is greatly influenced by your own frame of reference. I see a lot of postings about nurses having to deal with goofy things like paper cuts, or two or three students showing up at the same time, or parents that are a PIA. However, I think to myself, "wow, they are paying me to put a band aid on a paper cut!" When I worked in ICU, I had to turn patients every two hours, sometimes these patients weighed upwards of 300 pounds and I had to enlist 3-4 other nurses to help me. I had to clean poop and empty foley bags. If I had a patient in isolation I had to dress in PPE head to toe everytime I walked in the room, and if I forgot something or needed more supplies I had to undress and redress everytime. If someone needed a stat CT I had to push the thousand pound bed all the way to the CT department, help transfer the patient and then back. All this with angry family members constantly watching every move you make because they just KNOW that you are going to do something terrible to their loved one. NOTHING I have encountered in school nursing even comes close to the stress levels of hospital nursing. Granted, if I chose school nursing fresh out of school, I probably would feel like I was missing out on REAL nursing, and cool stuff like the excitement of the ER, or the specialized skills of ICU. So I did all that, and I'm glad I did. However, nursing has changed big time, and nurses are burning out big time. So if you like school nursing, count your blessings, stick with it, and have fun!

YAAASS!!! When I get down, I do like to take a moment to snap myself back into reality. I get paid well to see healthy kids. Sure, they can whine. Yes, the parents can be pains. But some days I get hugs and pictures drawn by kindergarteners. Some days I get middle school girls who just want to hang out and joke with me. Some days I get SPED kids who come in to water my plant and give me a high five. Some days, aw heck, MOST days, my job is really really cool!!!

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YAAASS!!! When I get down, I do like to take a moment to snap myself back into reality. I get paid well to see healthy kids. Sure, they can whine. Yes, the parents can be pains. But some days I get hugs and pictures drawn by kindergarteners. Some days I get middle school girls who just want to hang out and joke with me. Some days I get SPED kids who come in to water my plant and give me a high five. Some days, aw heck, MOST days, my job is really really cool!!!

While I agree, I also know that school nurses take a HUGE pay cut from hospital nursing and are very often not given the respect they deserve because we are not seen as "real" nurses. So while I appreciate the fact that my "bad" day might be "better" than a hospital nurse's "bad" day, it can still be a bad day and admin and families can make me feel like crap (or try to at least) by dismissing my assessments, etc.

I just remind myself it isn't a contest. All nurses should be valued and respected, regardless of the setting they practice in. I feel like school nurses are often forgotten in this respect.

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