Rumor confirmed:

The rumor that has been swirling around the district for weeks now has been confirmed: my middle school is being closed at the end of the school year, another victim of the budget crisis and education's poor money management. It's in the poorest neighborhood of the city, and the challenge of how some of these kids are going to get to the next nearest middle school - because transportation is also on the chopping block - is a problem no one seems to be acknowledging. It is truly nothing short of unbelievable what is happening in our school systems: the system is broken and sinking fast. I don't see it getting better without radical change, and with the obstacles to any sort of change being so absurd, I don't understand how that will ever happen.

In happier news, I was semi-able to attend the "Creepy Critters" assembly at my elementary school. Semi-able because I was called out for a child that bit a staff member and broke skin, and a head wound I'd already attempted to bandage that wouldn't stop bleeding. (Head bleeder's mom happened to be chaperoning the assembly. Nothing like having a mom watch your handiwork to make you sweat.) Such is the life of the school nurse.

Also, you may have seen the latest "trend" on using in school: hand sanitizer to get drunk. As this story points out, you should really be concerned with the normal liquid form being ingested, because that's probably where it starts. I highly doubt a teenager who has never had alcohol before will start with Purrell. Still, it's not a bad idea to be aware of the trends, may they be gummy bears or tampons soaked in alcohol (seriously, it's a thing), or hand sanitizer.


Case closed.

I noticed my gloves were disappearing faster than I was using them, but chalked up my confusion to my forgetfulness. Turns out I was right: two kids confessed to pilfering them to use as hot water balloons, and wrote me a very nice note of apology.

These kinds of notes totally make my day. :)

They also erase any disappointment I felt yesterday when my meeting got postponed, shelving my lice policy for another week, when all I want to do is get that thing off my desk and onto someone else's.


Part 15413 of 109834709

The lice saga continues at the Sweetie household. I have seen mom and Sweetie #1 twice a week for the last several weeks, each time sending her home with various amounts of nits, continuing to enforce our 1996 lice policy that I don't for a second believe in.  It doesn't get easier, and I can't hide the fact that I don't believe in what I'm doing.
However, today was particularly shocking for two reasons:
1. Mom informed me that Ms. Meanie - who I tend to avoid contact with - had the audacity to call Sweetie #2 into her classroom to check her. Yes, that's right: a teacher called a student into her classroom, a student that was not hers and one that had already been cleared to return, to see if she could find any nits. She failed (hah!), and Sweetie #2 has been in school much more than her sister, but still. Doesn't a teacher have something better to do than worry about nits on a child's head that she doesn't even see? Not to mention the fact that doing so was in essence second-guessing my own lice checker's work.
I hate to feel like a tattle-tale but I felt obligated to go to the principal with this one, even though he is beyond sick of dealing with lice issues. We agreed the act was completely excessive and inappropriate and he'll be speaking with Ms. Meanie.
2. The mom was complaining that Ms. Meanie, on her daughter's first progress report, was expecting to send her to second grade. I could tell she was upset about this, which seemed odd, and she explained: "With my daughter having missed so much school this year, there's no way she's going to be ready for second grade."
I'll agree with her on that point. In my head, though, all I could think was this: "Excuse me? You're thinking you should hold your daughter back because YOU couldn't clean your house and her hair properly?" I know our policy is outdated and stupid, but still, get your kid to school. By all accounts, including Ms. Meanie's, Sweetie #1 is not lacking in the intelligence department. But, missing as much school as she has, she's falling behind and mom plans to request to hold her back. I find this so sad I didn't even want to put it into words and make it real.
Tomorrow is Judgement Day where I have the pleasure of presenting my proposed updates to the lice policy tomorrow. I'm going armed with resources that explain the reasoning behind it, but I can't say I have much faith in the school system to actually get this changed.


The new B-word: bully

Please excuse me while I climb upon my soapbox to preach my thoughts.


Dear Parents,

If you could please refrain from knowingly sending your child to school with scabies, it would be much appreciated.
The very tired-of-parents school nurse
Happy Friday, and please quarantine yourself if you're carrying something contagious!


Just another manic Monday...

With the start of allergy season, I had a particularly busy day in my office, but not so busy I didn't notice my spitfire diabetic looking especially depressed. She's often dramatic and unhappy, and I've learned to treat her like the moody 16 year old teenager she thinks she is. When I didn't question her unhappiness, she opened up herself:
Her: You want to know why I'm sad?
Me: Do share.
Her: My dad is leaving today to be in jail for six months. I couldn't sleep last night so I stayed up until 1 am watching movies in bed. He gave me this necklace as a going away present.
Me: [Thinking to myself, "Hallelujah! Her dad's even worse than her mom in terms of her diabetic monitoring, and is a terrible role model. Recently made the papers for a DUI, and a high speed chase he led the police on. When dad's away, her blood sugars never fail to improve. Note of irony: her dad's a diabetic.] Oh...sorry to hear that. I know you probably think you can't smile right now, but I'll bet I can make you laugh.
Her: [Pouting] What.
Me: I fell off my bike this weekend.

I showed her my scraped hand, and much to her amusement explained that for no good reason I fell over on my bike this weekend. There is nothing that makes that girl laugh like telling her I made a fool of myself. Her troubles were forgotten as she was told me she was going to start calling the newspapers to tell them a 26 year old doesn't know how to ride a bike. Sigh...go ahead and get your laugh, girl, because I know you aren't getting them at home.

In another incident, I innocently asked a student if his mom was home while reaching for the phone to find someone to pick him up. He answered, "No, we don't have a house." I asked where he slept at night, he told me his grandparents' "for now."

Another mother called to excuse her son's absence. Reason: baby daddy was refusing to follow the custody arrangement and hadn't dropped said son back off at her house. Lovely.

In happier news, congratulations to Angela for winning a pair of scrubs from Scrubshopper.com, and thanks again Stephanie at Scrubshopper.com for coordinating that!



The Registered Nurse Population: Findings from the 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses: "The highest rates of being moderately or extremely satisfied were reported by registered nurses working in academic education programs (86.6 percent)..."


Get your scrub on: free scrubs!

I've found shopping for scrubs to be like shopping for jeans: the few that might flatter your figure are elusive as my car keys tend to be, and the scavenger hunt to find them is just as frustrating. Thank goodness for online shopping then, right? And like any other clothing, once you find a brand that fits (I'm not always even ambitious enough to find one that flatters), you pretty much stick with the same brand, right?  Yeah, me too. But when ScrubShopper.com offered me a free pair of scrubs, I took the chance to jump brands, from my safe-zone Cherokee, to the seemingly foreign Landau scrubs. (Clearly, I was feeling quite adventurous when I emailed them my request. They do offer Cherokee brands, I was just ready to try something new.) Moreover, I didn't just make a brand jump, I jumped shapes too: from tops with tie-backs to this tunic, and into these cargo pants. Cheers to my bravery! It paid off. 

The crossover tunic is not the box top I was expecting. Instead, it's flattering, comfortable, doesn't have a tie in the back that might get caught on things, and, most importantly, the pockets are just right. Similarly, the cargo pants are totally comfortable, have perfect pockets that I don't feel like a pen would fall out of, and has a drawstring waistband to allow for...ahem...whatever kind of day you're having. Granted, I received my pair free, so I didn't exactly "shop around" for these scrubs, but a quick glance online showed ScrubShopper is offering competitive prices. I can also attest to excellent customer service. Their website is easy to navigate, has a wide range of scrub brands, shapes, and colors, and use those size charts.

My one minor complaint about their website is me being a nit-picker (hah! literally!): their size charts don't have a "how to measure" cheat sheet. Perhaps I am the only one, though, that can never remember where exactly a bust is measured.

Disclaimer: ScrubShopper.com, a retailer of nursing scrubs, sent me these Landau scrubs to review. The review is entirely my own.

Now, what you're really here for: enter the information in the form below to win your own free pair of scrubs from ScrubShopper.com



I recently referred a kindergartener to an audiologist after two failed hearing screens. Her teacher told me she was the lowest performing student in her class by a mile, and her parents had complained to her teacher that she wasn't responsive to them at home, either. Today, I received the audiology report: "An otoscopic examination of the left ear found the presence of excessive wax which is blocking her ear canal. Medical attention is recommended for the removal of the wax."

I can't believe a student has been falling so incredibly far behind due, in part at least, to wax. How can she keep up if she can't hear? How sad (and kind of gross).

Spring break served its purpose, but I was ready to return today. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder, at least for the kids.

A couple more things: This piece of good news, and this piece of news that isn't proven just yet, but at the very least is an interesting suggestion sure to provoke debate.


Spring Cleaning

Souvenirs from a 6th grade class that I talked to last year: kindergarteners are not the only cuties I work with.