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Be Kind to Your School Nurse

So as all of you are aware, I am a mom and I love all things motherhood. There is also another part of me. I am a school nurse and I want to take a step back from motherhood, breastfeeding, and the funny things my toddler did to share how difficult these past few years have been for parents, school staff, and myself.

In February of 2020, I left the NICU to pursue school nursing. I was SO excited for summers off, holidays with my kids, and the amazing benefits. More so, I was so excited to work with kids. When I was a kid I dreamed of being a school nurse. I’ll admit, this was definitely a result of me being a frequent flyer…. not because I wanted to clean puke for a living. All jokes aside, I was thrilled. I instantly fell in love with the district that I worked for and the people that I worked with. More so I fell in love with the students! There is truly no nursing career where you can follow a kid from kindergarten through high school like you can as a school nurse. Anyways, I was moving along and learning the ropes and then BAM…. COVID.

I instantly became stressed and scared. No longer was I working with kids but I was learning any and everything about COVID and trying to figure out if I even still had a job! God bless the teachers and principals too because that was just a miserable time for everyone 😅

Fast forward to now…. our schools are fully open but the dreaded COVID is still here. So let me walk you through a sample of my day!

5:00 wake up! Shower since I prob forgot to last night. Say goodbye to your husband because he ain’t helping this morning.

6:00 wake kids up and deal with toddler who insists on wearing her bathing suit to school and throws a tantrum this early.

6:15 chug some coffee and maybe shovel down some food 6:30 drop kids at daycare

7am : arrive to work early and prep all of my morning medications, check my email and voicemail hoping and praying that there isn’t a positive covid result in there. If there is walk to the principal and be the bearer of bad news (aka I’m sorry but we need to contact trace).

720: Begin answering endless phone calls and emails that never stop. Let Susie know that her son/daughter needs a COVID test only so you can become the other end of their verbal punching bag. Reply to Susie stating “I am really sorry, unfortunately I don’t make the rules but I am happy to answer any questions you may have.” Then uhoh, teacher calls and Maggie has been absent for four days. Call Maggies mom who doesn’t answer (but sends Maggie back to school the next day with a cough and you feel pressured to send them home because they didn’t follow school policy) even though two years ago they would have gargled salt water and gone back to class. 8am: give meds

830: Rex just threw up all over your freshly cleaned cot, Rex is crying so offer him some comfort and support until mom can make it in to get him. Meanwhile, got puke on my pants that would normally freak people out but it’s a good thing I have antimicrobial scrubs on.

9am: clean scrubs with alcohol. Check diabetic students numbers. better get working on those immunization records, oh crap room 2021 is calling, better get that. Uh oh Jason ate a peanut! Better call mom and get the Benadryl/epi pen.

9:30: thoughts (crap I forgot to turn in my COVID numbers better do that, did annie turn in that physical form, ugh does the stack of papers keep getting bigger, I really need to reorganize)

945: Becca has a headache again (but really she just doesn’t want to go to gym) Becca rests on cot but instead of resting she keeps getting up and touching everything. Send Becca back to class and sanitize.

10: time to test the kids

1030: staff testing time/give meds

11: chart

1115: hopefully hide out long enough for a 30 minute uninterrupted lunch

1130: Kiddo peed his pants, hunt through the wardrobe for some pants that fit him

1145: chart some more

12:00 give more meds

12:30 try not to forget to pump so daycare has milk for your kid tomorrow

1:00 Try to check off the one item you had on your to do list

1:30 Hang out with your frequent flyer and talk about birds while in the back of your mind all you can think about is just one more physical you need to enter.

1:45 check all diabetic students sugars before bus time 2:00 endlessly speed chart your day and hope to get out at 3

2:30 scrub away all the germs 🦠

3:00 leave and think about everything you didn’t complete and are walking into tomorrow. 330 get kids from daycare

4:00 maybe clean something

4:30 breastfeed

5:00 My husband ran out of underwear so make sure to get a load of laundry done

6:00 scarf down dinner while your children endlessly whine for no reason and you realize why you have a job in the first place

6:30 give kids baths

7:00 put kids to bed

7:30 pack lunch and the kids for daycare

8:00 sit in silence with a glass of something strong. 9:00 aimlessly scroll through missed emails until you fall asleep after forgetting to shower

That almost sums it up, I’m most certainly forgetting something.

Now that you have read an outline of my day, I ask the you be kind to us school nurses. While most families are WONDERFUL to work with and follow all policies. Keep in mind that when you call your school nurse, on the other end of that phone, there is a person who is just as sick of COVID as you are. Nobody likes never ending changes. Nobody likes being sick. I HATE that kids are stuck missing so much school. The best we can do is work together. Be a team player and know that we are doing our best. Your teachers and administrators are also doing their best. Like you, I am a parent, and I have also had that dreaded phone call from daycare that has forced me keep my kid home for a cold. I have felt what you feel. I am following rules that were put in place by the state. My hands are tied. I am also confused and overwhelmed. We are so short staffed that we feel guilty if we get sick because there is nobody to cover us. We are desperate for kindness and help through this.

One kind word, just one, would make a school nurses entire day.

thanks for coming to my TED talk! ps look at this cute photo by Sweetly Grown Photography of my lil fam! Make sure to check her out for family pics!

disclaimer: all of my scenarios were fake people and situations, no personal names have been listed for valid reason.

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