Monday, July 28, 2014

Decisions, Decisions...

I am trying to decide what to do with this blog.  It still gets consistent hits each week, but I don't feel like I have anything that exciting to talk about.  Since I'm no longer in school, I don't have advice to give nursing students like I did in the past.

I considered going back to school for my BSN or MSN, but the reality is that I can't afford to go back to school.  I already have a huge amount of debt from my first degree in 1997 and my time in nursing school, and we are trying to sell our house right now in order to pay all of it off.  I have a child starting college in five years, and I want to be able to help him out.  Plus, a BSN won't help me pay-wise in the school district (since I have a previous Bachelor's degree and 8 years of service as a teacher).  The only thing it would do for me would be to allow me to take the test to be a National Certified School Nurse.  It would be cool to have some more initials after my name, but I really would not benefit in any other way.  I think I would get $1500 more per year if I got my MSN, and I'm willing to bet that getting that degree would cost more than that.  I intend to retire from school nursing, so it would almost be pointless to get my Master's.  I have toyed with the idea of becoming a nurse educator, so maybe that is something I will do in the distant future.  I'm pretty comfortable right now, though.

I've never worked in a hospital, so I can't relate to that, either.  While I was in school and doing my clinicals, I was really turned off by hospital nursing.  I didn't have the greatest instructors my last two semesters, so I am sure that influenced my thinking.  I admit it, I'm lazy.  I don't thrive on incredibly fast-paced situations; instead I prefer to take my time to make decisions.  Being on my feet for 12 hours at a time is not appealing to me, I like having weekends and holidays off, and no one yells at me in the school.  Yes, it does get lonely at times, and it would be great to have someone else to help or provide support, but most of the time, I like being the only health professional on my campus.  There are over 50 other schools in my district, and those nurses are only a phone call or email away.  I like only working 187 days per year, and I really like the school environment.

When I first graduated and worked in home health, I thought I would like being out and about all day, and still only working 8-5.  I liked getting to know the patients and seeing their health improve over several visits, and I thought wound care was pretty interesting.   Little did I know that I would be working for peanuts, driving up to 120 miles per day, going into some neighborhoods and apartment complexes where I didn't feel safe, and there would be pressure to work 7 days per week.  I am so thankful that I only had to do that for two months.

I did really enjoy my last job, doing triage in a privately owned pediatric practice.  I loved getting to know all of the families, and watching the babies grow up.  I thrived on the additional responsibility that I was given over time; ordering supplies, helping to supervise the medical assistants, doing patient education, and assisting the doctors with different things.  What I didn't enjoy was the fact that I felt like no matter how hard I worked, it was never good enough.  I would be blamed for things that weren't my responsibility, and sometimes, things I had no knowledge even existed.  I rarely finished work by 5, and didn't take a vacation for over a year.  The pay wasn't great, either.  I am glad I had that experience, but it was time to move on.

All right, anyone have anything you want to ask me about being a school nurse?  Any suggestions for posts?  I'm open to ideas.  I'm not going to shut this blog down, but probably won't start posting more often unless I get some ideas.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I just read this article, and it gave me a lot to think about.  How many children are misdiagnosed and taking unnecessary medications?  I went through a similar experience with my son, but not nearly as serious at the girl in the article experienced.

In the fall of 2010, my son started complaining of knee pain, and his pediatrician noticed it was slightly swollen when we went in for an ADHD follow-up visit.  Even though he had not had any recent illnesses, she suspected reactive or post-strep arthritis, so she immediately ordered blood work to check for strep antibodies and a chest x-ray to make sure there was no heart damage.  The blood work came back positive and the x-ray was negative, so we embarked on six months of bicillin injections, which are painful and expensive.

Thankfully, everything turned out fine and he recovered completely.  I am so glad that we have such a thorough and caring pediatrician, and she was able to catch that.  With my students, I am so vigilant that students who I suspect have strep are taken to the doctor and treated.

I hope everyone's semester/school year is going well; we are starting to wind things up here.  State testing ended yesterday, and I am making my list of my end of the year tasks.  I hope to be back here soon!  If you have any questions or topics you'd like me to write a post about, please let me know in the comments.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ready or Not...

So, I have completed my first week of working for a school district.  In my former life, I was a teacher with this same district, and went through orientation with them back in 2001.  Returning as a school nurse, they weren't quite sure what to do with me, and I was told to attend their Novice Teacher Academy last week.  They have a great, week-long program for new teachers who are new to teaching or new to the district, but don't have a clue how to support new nurses.  After two days of attending sessions that did not benefit me in any way, I was able to attend a training specifically for nurses.

We met at one of the high schools, and were given guidance on how to use the online documentation system that is used district-wide.  Somehow, I don't have access to that software yet, and cannot enter in my new students into the system.  We were also given information on how to handle specific situations that might arise as a school nurse, and that was very helpful.  Thursday, I worked on setting up and organizing the clinic, and Friday, I had a day off for the first time in what feels like forever.

Tomorrow is the first day that all of the teachers return.  I am looking forward to meeting everyone at my school, and continuing to figure out my role as a new school nurse.  I can plan and prepare all that I want, but reality sets in on the 26th when the students return for their first day of school.  Eek!

Monday, August 12, 2013

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Working in a pediatrician's office and now a public school, I am constantly reviewing vaccine records to ensure that children are up to date on their vaccines.  All students entering public school in Texas (and elsewhere) need to have a tetanus booster (TDaP), their first meningitis vaccine, two doses of Varicella (chicken pox) and two doses of Hepatitis A before they can attend seventh grade.  It's also not too early to get flu vaccine for the coming season; Flumist is being distributed to providers already, with injectable flu vaccine not too far behind.

Vaccines can be received as part of the yearly well child exam, at some pharmacies or clinics inside grocery stores/drug stores, or in free clinics offered in certain areas.  Local health departments give vaccines, as well.  Texas discontinued their free Shots Across Texas program in 2012 due to less children qualifying for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, so I want to remind parents to keep a current copy of your child's vaccines and review them annually to ensure there are none needed.  If your child has yearly wellness exams, your doctor will review his/her vaccine record at that visit.

Here are some good resources with information regarding vaccines:

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Going back to school

No, I'm not going back to school as a student, though I really should do that someday; instead, I finally got hired for my dream job, as a school nurse.  I am so excited, yet terrified!  This is what I've wanted for quite a while now; it's more money, and I will be off when my kids are.  I haven't seen the clinic yet, but am anxiously looking forward to it.  Anyone have any great school nurse blogs to share?  I need ideas for bulletin boards, supplies to get, resources that would be useful, etc...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I love scrubs!

I love being able to wear scrubs for work, since it is like being able to wear stylish pajamas every day. I prefer to wear the ones that are mainly polyester, because I am too lazy to iron, and they can be hung up and sprayed with water at bedtime, then are wrinkle-free when I go to get dressed in the morning.  I also prefer solid colors.  Working in a pediatric office, I could get away with printed and holiday-themed scrubs, but I just can't bring myself to wear them.  I guess that's one advantage to working in a doctor's office; no standardized colors for me!

I was contacted by someone at Uniformed Scrubs and asked if I would do a review of one of their scrub tops.  I was sent a maroon 3-pocket v-neck tunic top made by Adar Scrub Tops to try out and review.  The top that I received appeared to be well-made, is very roomy and comfortable, and is a pretty color.  I prefer my scrubs to be a little more tailored, but if you like tops that have a generous fit and large front pockets to hold all your stuff, then be sure to check out the Nurse Scrubs found on the Uniformed Scrubs website.  They are a Texas-based company (yay!), carry several brands of scrubs and nursing shoes at REALLY good prices, and offer free shipping on orders of $100 or more.

If you are a reader of this blog, receive a 15% discount during the month of July for entering the code "trueblue" at check-out.  You can also check out Uniformed Scrubs in several other places:

Google Plus:

Twitter: @UniformedScrubs

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Continuing Education

For those of us who graduated from nursing school in 2011, the time has come to renew our nursing licenses.  If you are like me and are lucky enough to have a birthday later in the year than your license date, you may have already had to renew your license last fall.

In my state, we do not have to do continuing education hours during our first licensing period, but do have to complete 20 hours every two years afterward.  Free courses are available with an hour here and there, but rarely do they pertain to a topic that I am interested in, or that would benefit my job.

Someone recommended trying, because they offer unlimited continuing education hours for a flat rate, and have courses offered in many subjects.  Does anyone out there have experience with that site, or do you have a better one to recommend?  Please leave me a comment; I'd love to hear from you!

Update:  Texas Health Steps has lots of free CE courses that you can take.  Also, many professional organizations offer free courses.  I belong to the National Association of School Nurses, and they offer many free or discounted CE courses with your membership.  I'll update this post as I find more.  Feel free to leave additional suggestions in the comments.
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