Where to Draw the Line...?

Posted

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience.

Hi, all.

I'm currently in a private school (been there since their Summer camp in 2021). The salary is good, benefits are meh, but the main issue is the unending job description and lack of boundaries. After the other day, the job hit what I call the "Quinfecta". People have been at me after hours during: evenings, holidays, weekends, school "vacations", and now, on our first snow day. Quite honestly, workers there are desperately in need of a union, but that ain't happening anytime soon. I'd like to complete two years there, but I don't want to continue to be exploited.

What do you think? I'm under the impression that non-union schools (particularly charter schools) always want way too much...

RatherBHiking, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Oncology, OB, School Nurse. Has 30 years experience. 1 Article; 522 Posts

On 1/9/2022 at 10:26 AM, Jedrnurse said:

People have been at me after hours during: evenings, holidays, weekends, school "vacations", and now, on our first snow day.

When you say “at you” do you mean calling or texting after hours? If that’s the case just  don’t respond until the next work day. Say you are outside of paid hours and have decided to turn off your phone at those times or maybe only accept calls from family or whatever. They won’t know as long as you don’t respond until work hours. I don’t check my email and I sure as heck do not call parents back. To me an emergency is someone needing to go on the ER, not someone knowing if they can come to school the next day. If they show up and shouldn’t be there send them home. If they don’t show up and can, call them and say they can return. I’m assuming this has to do with COVID more than anything. They can’t make you respond to them unless it’s in your contract to work 24/7. They bug my principal because they know he will respond and I won’t. That’s his choice and he does get paid much more than me so I do not respond  until the next time I’m at work and I do not feel a bit guilty about it. 

k1p1ssk, BSN, RN

Specializes in pediatrics, school nursing. Has 11 years experience. 611 Posts

On 1/9/2022 at 10:26 AM, Jedrnurse said:

Hi, all.

I'm currently in a private school (been there since their Summer camp in 2021). The salary is good, benefits are meh, but the main issue is the unending job description and lack of boundaries. After the other day, the job hit what I call the "Quinfecta". People have been at me after hours during: evenings, holidays, weekends, school "vacations", and now, on our first snow day. Quite honestly, workers there are desperately in need of a union, but that ain't happening anytime soon. I'd like to complete two years there, but I don't want to continue to be exploited.

What do you think? I'm under the impression that non-union schools (particularly charter schools) always want way too much...

I am in a public, union district and the number of after-hours calls has been outrageous since Thanksgiving. I got texts on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and multiple times throughout the vacation week, all for personal covid situations that had no bearing on being in school. On top of the daily "do you have a minute?" drop ins, the number of unrelated, personal medical questions have also been through the roof. And for every person staying home against protocol (mainly fully vaxxed and boosted staff who are saying they are a close contact and need to quarantine), there is another who calls out sick and gives 0 information about if they are sick enough to get tested... which means I Have to follow up with them all. My principal, admin asst, and myself all came to work yesterday feeling utterly exhausted. We met informally first thing in the morning and all we had to do was exchange glances and we KNEW this was unsustainable. We decided to add an addendum to our call out instruction sheets - I wrote up an entire 2 pages outlining what vaxxed vs. unvaxxed staff members should be doing re: quarantine/isolation, when they should get tested, and encouraging them to call their PCPs with personal medical questions. I wrote up scenarios/case studies for the most frequent situations. These were emailed out first thing this AM and hard copies in everyone's mailboxes. 

Staff are so quick to forget that yes, while they have a classroom full of students to take care of and worry about and that comes with its own challenges, those of us in the Health Office and Main office have an entire schools' worth. 

MHDNURSE

Specializes in Pediatrics, Community Health, School Health. Has 26 years experience. 697 Posts

I think it is all about the school culture and being clear about your boundaries.  I have gotten MUCH better about shutting OFF my work cell the minute I step out the door and not turning it back on until I enter the building.  I also no longer check emails outside of school hours. I think COVID has pushed people over the edge and suddenly everything is an emergency.  I think if you are clear, firm, and consistent about boundaries they will learn.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,619 Posts

27 minutes ago, MHDNURSE said:

I think it is all about the school culture and being clear about your boundaries.  I have gotten MUCH better about shutting OFF my work cell the minute I step out the door and not turning it back on until I enter the building.  I also no longer check emails outside of school hours. I think COVID has pushed people over the edge and suddenly everything is an emergency.  I think if you are clear, firm, and consistent about boundaries they will learn.

I hear you, but the chief culprit is the principal. Without a union, it's harder to navigate this.

arlingtonnurse

80 Posts

It is super hard for me to draw boundries but  I have learned the hard way that it is essential or you will burn yourself out. You have to stand firm and turn off the phone/disable texts from principal. Let her know what you are doing and give her the choice of paying you for off time inquiries or waiting until you are back at school.  I know it's easier said then done but it's important to claim your worth.  Remind yourself that you are in the right and what you are doing is fair and respectful to all involved.

 

LikeTheDeadSea, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 6 years experience. 629 Posts

23 hours ago, arlingtonnurse said:

It is super hard for me to draw boundries but  I have learned the hard way that it is essential or you will burn yourself out. You have to stand firm and turn off the phone/disable texts from principal. Let her know what you are doing and give her the choice of paying you for off time inquiries or waiting until you are back at school.  I know it's easier said then done but it's important to claim your worth.  Remind yourself that you are in the right and what you are doing is fair and respectful to all involved.

 

THIS!

I like to remind administrators "is this urgent or emergent?"  because nothing during off-hours is ever emergent in terms of communication to/from me.  Urgent matters can wait until I'm back in the office.

And yes, this does include all things related to Covid.