Two applications, one interview (and the other interview declined) later, I have a "new" job.
I took this job originally intending it to be a filler, a way to get a paycheck, while I found a "real" job. One year turned into two, which turned into three, four, and now five. What? A husband and child later, I've realized that a) school nursing is kind of fun and b) I'm pretty good at it. Unfortunately, my current district wasn't one I could see myself staying in. One example of why not: just two weeks ago, I emailed my boss to voice my concerns about my caseload. I had never once complained about my workload, unlike most of the RNs I work with, but it became too much with the addition of another diabetic student. I wasn't (am not) able to do anything as thoroughly as I'd like, and besides needing to protect student safety, I have a nursing license to stay loyal to as well. It was a short and, I thought, sweet email that said just that: I'm concerned, and may I please have help. (Most other nurses in our district have been working with LVNs, some two, except for me, which is a whole different story.) I found out from our lead nurse that our boss then had to call her and ask who I am. I've worked for a man for five years who apparently doesn't know who I am...despite, you know, being the movement behind the lice policy change, a CPR/First Aid Instructor, and other resume highlights.
Anyway. I will still be a school nurse but am moving to a district that is twice the size of my current one, has three times the RN staff and about 6 times the LVN staff (seriously). My future boss talked with me at the interview, discussing the differences between my current district and theirs. Theirs, he said, would entail more supervising of LVN staff, less hands on with students, and more case management. It's the first opportunity I've ever had for growth in my career, and I'm taking it.
I start in August but to be officially hired and do the paperwork there, I need to officially resign at my current position, which I plan to do this week. Then I will finish out the school year as a lame duck of sorts. Hallelujah.
Losing the student last month was rough. As the principal said though: "We can't take them home." That doesn't stop me from wishing I could sometimes.
I've added a new diabetic to my load, a newly diagnosed, wonderful 5th grader. You can't ask for a better student to work with: responsible, a motivated learner, she has it all. The problem is she's at a different site from my other two sites with diabetic students, so now I travel to three different school sites on a daily basis, and sometimes my fourth school site if they're lucky. Yesterday, I had a meeting at school #1, then went to #2, then back to #1 to see my diabetics, then #3 for more diabetics, then #4 to see my new diabetic. It is utter insanity to be driving around this much, and I'm going to try to leave any comments on my caseload at that.
Being out and about so much has given me the opportunity to see some new sights around town though. They include: chihuahuas walking unaccompanied on the sidewalk of a busy, four lane street, a man with a teardrop tattoos beneath both eyes, and mothers with kids in the baskets of their strollers (converting a single stroller into a double or triple). There's a reason I commute.
Posted by Mrs. Nurse at 16:41
I just received word this evening that one of my students passed away this weekend of an asthma attack. He was a kindergartner this year, one I've met several times for a variety of reasons, and he always left an impression on me. Just last week, I met his mom, when she brought in an inhaler for him to have at school. The paperwork for her son was insufficient, but I ended up accepting her son's emergency department discharge paperwork instead of the district medication form we use so she wouldn't have to wait for a doctor's appointment to have the medication at school. "I want inhalers here, we can work on formalizing the paperwork later," I told her.
Her son came to me first thing that Tuesday morning, and I could see that he needed his inhaler, so I coached him through it. Just over an hour later, he came to my office again asking to use the inhaler. I listened to his lungs and explained to him that his lungs sounded clear. He said he was "scared" of having trouble breathing - and who could blame him - which was why he wanted his inhaler again. We talked at length about staying calm and techniques to do so, and he gave me a high five on his way out the door.
And now, he is gone.
Posted by Mrs. Nurse at 19:36
Because you just never know what these kids will say. A sixth grader comes in every day to take his Ritalin pill at the same time I see my diabetics. Each day, I say, "Hi [Student], what's new?" He always pauses to come up with something new, sometimes a new lunchbox or a new book he's reading. But today, I got the best answer yet - and I've been seeing him since he was in fourth grade.
First, he answered my question with one of his own: "Do you know what sober means?"
"Well my dad is in a club and he got a chip for being 5 years sober!"
Posted by Mrs. Nurse at 16:26
I like to think I'm up with current events of young folks, but when a middle school student came in this morning with what appeared to be a second degree burn from a "game" he had played over the weekend, I realized that I'm not all that current. It turns out kids like to play the "salt and ice challenge" in which they put salt on ice and stick it on a body part. Whoever holds it longest wins with the highest pain threshold, because what they are doing is essentially burning their skin.
What? This is a game? I'm going to choose to lose, myself...
Salt and Ice in the news: Parents warn about the Dangers of Salt and Ice Challenge
Posted by Mrs. Nurse at 16:55
I let a tearful second grader call home to get picked up. Her dad said he'd be on his way, so I sent her to her classroom to get her belongings. Soon after, the secretary asked me if the student went back to class, and I told her that I'd asked her to go get her backpack but she would be back soon...Another few minutes later, a classmate of the ill student came to my office to tell me the student had never come back to pick up her things.
I brought the classmate to the front office where she reported, loudly and in front of the ill student's father, that the student was missing...Oh, crap. The secretary, the principal, and I quickly checked all bathrooms in the school, and her classroom again, and still we couldn't find her. The secretary used the PA system to ask the student to come to the office, and she came in through a side hallway. Apparently she went to her normal after school pick-up spot to wait for her dad.
Sheesh, though. "Sorry we lost your daughter" is not exactly a statement you want to make to any parent, particularly in the neighborhood of this school.
Posted by Mrs. Nurse at 15:48
It's becoming more rare that something brand new happens on this job. I've seen concussions, broken bones, stitch-requiring lacerations, etc. But I finally had the privilege of calling Poison Control after a first grader ate one of those oxygen absorbing packets you see in items, the small salt-like package that is labeled all over with "DO NOT EAT." I didn't imagine it'd be too damaging, seeing as how those packages come in so many items, but I thought it would be better to be able to report to her parents that I'd called Poison Control than assuring a parent, "It'll be fine, I just 'googled' it."
They're a lovely bunch over there that answer Poison Control calls, and as expected, the lady that answered the phone told me that the student would only have a stomachache as a result, and asked that we give her something to eat (to bind the oxygen absorber to something to help pass it through).
I told the student she would be okay, and to eat a snack out of her backpack when she got back to class. She burst into tears, refusing to leave, saying, "But it's still in my stomach, it's going to be stuck there! I want to get it out!" After a lengthy explanation of how poop works, she agreed she'd have a snack, and went on her way. Aww...First graders are precious.
Posted by Mrs. Nurse at 17:08