Spitfire 2.0, and, phew.

Here I was, concerned about my lack of contact with students at this new job...Hah! I spent three hours this morning dealing with an out of control kindergartner with Type 1 diabetes. His teachers had mentioned he was having some behavior issues, and weren't sure how much of that could be attributed to blood sugar spikes and falls. I kind of rolled my eyes a bit, to myself, when they were telling me this, but I said I'd stop in. Then I popped in this morning, as promised, and could not believe it. Twenty-six kids were sitting in their squares, criss-cross-applesauce with bubbles in their mouths, and the one I went to check on was spinning in circles, crawling on desks, trespassing around the teacher's desk, etc. It was bad. We ended up having an impromptu meeting with dad after school due to a comment the young lad had made: "I'm mad so I better check my blood sugar." I've seen kids manipulate adults using diabetes, but not at five years old...yikes. His blood sugar was completely normal all morning but repeatedly asked to test and said his blood sugar was why he was acting so poorly.

This kid is going to be a problem for my foreseeable future, but ahhh...it feels good to see a blood glucose meter again.


Lice in the news

Mutant lice! This doesn't surprise me at all; parents have been complaining to me for years that the lice shampoos don't work. Also, if lice-removal companies charge $250/hour, perhaps I should consider getting a summer job working for one...


I'm not in Kansas anymore

After Spitfire's note, I went to work today lamenting a bit that my new position does not involve as much face to face time with students. I got down to business at my middle school, cranking out care plans in a tiny office crammed with student cumulative files and dead printers. (I nearly laughed out loud when the vice principal asked, "Have they told you about this school? We have crazy stuff happening here...We have students with diabetes, we've had kids with seizures.." Um, lady. I'm a school nurse. That sounds totally normal to me.) After several hours, I'd had enough of my little hole of the office and the unfriendly grump of a secretary, so I moved onto my elementary school down the street. 

There, I did the same thing but in a wide open "nurse's office"...An office that contains the staff bathroom, the fax machine, the custodian's things, and more. Still, better facilities than any of my other schools. I spread out and was again trying to crank out care plans, when I heard two young students come in the back door. One was clearly covered in vomit, and she walked boldly into my room and vomited again, all over...And I mean, all over. Her hair, her shirt, her shorts were all drenched, there were the chunks on the floor...It was lovely. I grabbed her a trash can and started getting her cleaned up, because, am I supposed to just watch a kid's vomit soak in on herself? No. The secretary came in shortly after and was clearly surprised and incredibly grateful toward me for helping out the kids...Isn't that why I'm there? 

At my old district, all of the "gross" things were directed toward me the moment I was on site. I thought that's what school nurses were hired for. Here, apparently, they are thankful if I even acknowledge the kids as humans. 


From Spitfire:

"my nurse is ok but she can't beat you lol"

The best compliment anyone could ask for from a 7th grader. (For reference: Spitfire is a diabetic I cared for from 3rd-6th grade. I gave her my email address when she and I finally parted ways after 4 crazy years of lunch together.)


Day One

Well, Day One for the students. I started off my day at my Title 1 school, which was an absolute madhouse. Apparently it has the same number of office staff as another nearby school - in a much better neighborhood - with twice the students. It was a zoo, to say the least. As it turns out, I know the principal - she and I worked together in one of my schools last year. She left to come to this district, and I accidentally followed her. She and I talked about why we both left our previous district - the same person was the cause for both of us, really - and I made what I hope will turn out to not me a false promise by saying I'd be there more often than the previous nurse that was there on a "drop in" basis. I touched base with a kindergartner with Type 1 Diabetes and his adorably anxious parents, wrote some care plans, and soon was out the door.

Next I went to a home assessment for a preschooler being evaluated for autism. I thought my school had been a zoo; this house with just two kids was far worse. The boy was literally bouncing off the walls, off me and the rest of the assessment team, etc. It was a disaster. Mom had her hands full with a toddler, as well as her son being assessed, but both were so out of control it was near impossible. I left with the adaptive PE teacher, who answered my first question before I could ask it: no, they're not all like that. It was particularly bad, she promised me, and although you never know what you're getting into with a home visit, they don't usually go so poorly.

Last stop was a second school, in a great little neighborhood just a few miles from my Title 1 school. There, I spent a few hours furiously working on care plans, with the exception of a short "break" when a boy came crying into the office. The office staff clearly normally handles all of the minor first aid, but asked me to check this one out. In five years as a school nurse, I had never seen a broken bone until today -- don't ask me how I managed that. But today, I finally saw what was clearly a broken bone. The poor first grader was sobbing in pain and looking like he was going to pass out. Mom got there quickly, and I returned to my care plan work.

If today was any sign, it will be an interesting school year.


First Impressions

Today, Day One, I left my audiometer that I had literally just signed out, in the great wide open at district office. Whoops. I sent a message to the health secretary as soon as I got home, and she tucked it under her desk for me. Not really the first impression I was going for...the forgetful nurse who leaves a trail of expensive equipment behind. C'est la vie.

New Beginnings

A new school year, in a new job, in a new town. I know what you're thinking...Already?? Yes, school starts this week for many of us. Gone are the after-Labor-Day school year starts around here.

My first official day was today, although I went in last week for orientation, and students begin later this week. My assignment is to cover three elementary schools and a middle school, and oversee 1.3 LVNs to cover diabetics, health and vision screenings, IEPs, and whatever else comes up.

With no direction as to what to do first thing this morning, I decided to show up to one of my schools and at least introduce myself. I happened to get there the same time as an all-staff meeting, so I had the opportunity to meet all of the teachers and support staff. There was a common theme to their reaction about me: "Thank goodness." This particular school is a Title I school, and, apparently, not an easy one. The psychologist flat out said it is a tough school to have as an incoming nurse to the district, and then, when we were signing up for vision screening at the end of a nurse's meeting, one nurse mentioned it as well. "Okay, Mrs. Nurse, I'll help you out there..We'll tackle it together, it'll be okay." She was trying to soothe me about something I didn't know I should be anxious about. I mentioned what she said to our lead nurse, and all she did was pat me on the back and say, "Yeah...it'll keep you busy."

So, there's that school! Who knows what that might bring. Plus, two other elementary schools, three diabetics among two school sites, IEPs coming in already, etc. Such is the life of a school nurse.

The good news: we have a great lead nurse, and some of my coworkers seem particularly positive and team-oriented -- quite the opposite of the last five years. I'm not really sure what's in store for me, but the overall attitude among all the nursing staff seems to be, "We'll make it," instead of, "We're screwed." Hallelujah.