Tag Archives: special education

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.

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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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Ready to Receive

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At the door of my clinic

I am a school nurse.  My mom is a retired school nurse.  My sister is a nurse.  My brother-in-law is a nurse.  Being a nurse comes naturally to me.  Over the last 13 years I have been a nurse in a variety of settings (hospital floor, ER, doctor’s office, urgent care clinic, and now the school system), but I have always worked with children.  Pediatrics is my specialty.

Our students return to school tomorrow for another exciting year.  School nursing has evolved over the decades.  Because of the changes in the laws over the years, more and more children with chronic medical conditions are in the school system (this is called mainstreaming or inclusion).  Thankfully, every child now has the right to an education, regardless of how severely limiting their disability may be.  However, this poses a challenge to the school community.  One that the teachers, administrators, and nurses face head on each year.

Examples of conditions we manage in the school setting are:

  • Asthma (I had 65 students last year who kept inhalers in the clinic, and many more who have them at home)
  • ADHD (I administer several of these medications during the school day, and many more take them at home)
  • Type I Diabetes (These students are insulin-dependent and may need daily shots or have insulin pumps)
  • Seizure disorders (Including Cerebral Palsy and epilepsy)
  • Psychiatric disorders (Even young children are diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and others)
  • Bleeding disorders (Various types of hemophilia – these students are prone to easy bleeding even with minor injuries on the playground)

I see about 80 kids a day.  Yes, 80.  In a 7-hour period.  Their ages range from 3-11 years.  Kids come to the clinic for the above reasons, and also the basic bumps/bruises and tummy aches that come along with the school day.  I have tended to many broken bones, head injuries, some seizures, and even a car accident in our school parking lot.  I also perform screenings of hundreds of students throughout the year for Vision/Hearing, Scoliosis and more.

This past week I got my clinic set up – all rooms are cleaned and dismantled over the summer.

box of supplies

Some of my meager supplies provided by the school district

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Tongue depressors, Ace wraps, bandage tape, wrist splints, slings

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Bandage tape, rolled gauze

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Cut-to-fit finger splints – can you say Jammed Fingers?

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Sewing kit (I have used this for clothing, shoes, and glasses believe it or not) and a Glasses Repair Kit – Yes the nurse can do that.

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Canisters for gauze, bandaids, and eye pads

Most of our teachers are seasoned – experienced in dealing with the various accidents and illnesses of their students.  But I like to give out a little tip sheet for the new teachers, and as a reminder/refresher for the rest:

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May I Go To The Nurse?

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Bandaids and Clinic Passes

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Kits to Begin the Year!

I want my clinic to be a comfortable place but not too FUN – some students seem to gravitate to the clinic to get out of class, or just as a diversion.

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One of Two Plastic, Wipeable Cots

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Cute Animal Posters to Cover the Blank Boring Wall

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View From My Desk – The Second Cot, My Sink, and the Front Office

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Crayons for the little ones (and sometimes the big ones) who need to be occupied while waiting for their parents to come

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My desk – I’m usually not sitting at it.

These signs have some of my most favorite School Nurse sayings:

  • School Nurses Care for Kids
  • Every Child Deserves a School Nurse
  • Healthy Children Learn Better – School Nurses Make it Happen

And that I do!  I am ready to receive all who walk through my door this year.

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