Tag Archives: School nursing

Things That Make The School Nurse Cringe

It’s not what you might think.  Nurses don’t cringe at your run-of-the-mill blood and guts.  Bodily fluids – bring ’em on!  What I’m talking about are the “accidents-waiting-to-happen,” lurking, insidious dangers.

scooter board

Remember scooter boards?

1.  Scooter boards in P.E.  Yes they’re still around!  Yes the kids LOVE them!  It’s all fun and games until someone runs over their own fingers – that’s right, their own fingers, or someone slides right off onto their stomach, or yet another somehow flips it and bumps their head on the ground.

upside down monkey bars

Why do they love hanging upside down??

2.  Monkey bars – It’s safe to say most school nurses wish they could dismantle the monkey bars, or otherwise render them useless.  We have ALL seen injuries from this equipment – ranging from the very minor (blisters on the hands or bumps to the head) to the grotesque (my mom is a retired school nurse and had to send a student by EMS for a horrific leg injury).  Often the more serious injuries happen when the kids hang upside down.


How swings should be used.

3.  Swings – Ah, the swings.  The wind in your hair.  The freedom of gliding in mid air.  Then suddenly WHACK! – A student walks too close to the swing and gets kicked in the face – down he goes!  Or, a little one’s fingers get caught in the swing chains – sprained and bruised! Or, a student leaps off while the swing is high in the sky and they land on their arm – broken!  (True story, I’ve had a kid break BOTH arms from falling off a swing – unbelievable!).

charlie brown football

4.  Any sport with a ball – Kids love to play football, basketball, and soccer at recess.  It is supposed to be “touch” football but some students have a heavier hand than others (we’ll just put it that way).  Of course this leads to all kinds of bodily injuries.  I had a student sustain a serious eye injury from being “karate-chopped” to the face during one of these games.   And of course these tough kids get right back out there and keep playing!


Chew your food! No laughing! No talking!

5.  The cafeteria –  Can you say choking hazard and food allergy hotbed!?  I don’t even like setting foot in the cafeteria because I can’t help but see all the wide open, laughing, ready-to-aspirate mouths everywhere I turn!

field day

Field Day already??

6.  Field Day – It’s organized.  But it’s chaos.  Kids rotating through different stations, hyper from the excitement of the day.  That makes for trips, slips and falls.  But man, how they love it!

jumping rope

What could happen jumping rope??

7.  Jumping rope – This is a recent addition to my list of cringe-worthy activities.  I had a student fracture their humerus (the long bone in the upper arm) from falling while jumping rope.

So this leads me to the conclusion that, although physical activity is a vital and necessary part of the school day – injuries are bound to happen.  There’s no need to be paranoid – just be prepared, for literally anything!

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The Week in Review

This week is almost over and it’s been a pretty good one, overall.

Monday:  The work day was busy and stressful and my anxiety was high.  It was a long day.  I think I’ve blocked out the details.

Tuesday:  I trained a new nurse who, thankfully, was very “with it” as I say.  I LOVE training but the trainee has GOT to have some basic nursing knowledge and some common sense or it just ends up being a frustrating day.  She was able to experience a child with a badly broken arm (from recess) and all the stress and anxiety that comes along with assessing, splinting, calling mom, and comforting the child as much as possible.  I usually “work alone” as the only medical professional in the school, so it was nice to have a partner with me.  We saw a little over 50 kids that day, which is average for me.


Field Trip!

Wednesday:   I went on a field trip to accompany a child with a special medical need.  I love seeing the students outside of the confines of my little “fishbowl” of a clinic – I need the reminder sometimes that not all the kids are sick, hurt, and constantly whining.  Most of the students on the field trip were smiling, engaged, and having fun.  Luckily, there were no emergencies and the day went off without a hitch.  I love seeing teachers in action – my first major was Elementary Special Education before changing to Nursing.  Teachers amaze me.  It is no small feat to get dozens of students safely to, from, and THROUGH a field trip!  There was constant head-counting, redirecting, disciplining, and plenty of learning going on.  And it was a nice change of pace for me.  We rode the big yellow school buses and they were just like I remembered:  loud, uncomfortable, and did I mention loud??

Thursday:  Today was a busy day in the clinic, full of the hustle and bustle of a beautiful, sunny Fall day.  For the school nurse, that means LOTS of injuries, LOTS of asthmatics needing their inhalers, and a sprinkling of pinkeye and the stomach bug.  Our school has a large Special Education population, and many of these students have medical needs such as G-tube feedings and oral medications.  I LOVE our diverse population – my pediatric skills are always being used.  I saw 68 students today, which is higher than average but will increase as the weather turns colder and flu season comes upon us!

Friday:  (tomorrow) Who cares – it’ll be Friday!!!

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