For better or worse...

...There's only one of me. I have three school sites, you do the math: I can't be everywhere at once, and even when I am someplace, my mind is often on whatever issue is most pressing, not necessarily at the particular site I am present in. I am also very aware of the reputation of school nurses: we're lazy people with boring jobs and don't ever do anything. So when something dramatic happens at one of my schools that I was not present for, I tend to feel terrible: my opportunity to refute the stereotype of the school nurse, to show my stuff, to prove I have a job for a reason, missed. I don't just feel a little terrible, I feel a lot terrible. I know I can't be everywhere at once, but now twice in the last few weeks I've missed a 9-1-1 call at a school site whose day it was for me to be there. This time, I had to leave early to meet a nurse at a different school to exchange audiometers, and I missed a first-time seizure by a paraeducator by minutes. If we hadn't chosen to meet at that particular time, I might have been able to contribute something; instead, I have now missed every one of the three 9-1-1 calls that have happened this school year, and feel like a worthless nincompoop because of it.

Also, in defense of school nurses: yes, I don't have angry doctors breathing down my neck, yes, I don't have the stress hospital nurses do. However, school nurses have a different kind of stress: the always on-call, have to be prepared for anything, I have no one to turn to if something happens kind. Maybe it gets less stressful as one gains experience, and probably not everyone has the guilty conscience I do when it comes to being absent during serious incidents, but this job is not stress-less. Take my word for it or do it yourself.


  1. don't be too hard on yourself... count all the moments of success, all the moments of connections with kids who rarely have a positive adult role model in their lives... you are right, you can't be everywhere at once... just keep shining where you are.

  2. Anyone who thinks your job is easy is an idiot.