Sunday, September 15, 2013

School Nurse Office Decor and Set Up


What does your dream health center or

school nurse's office look like?

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Lately, I've been dreaming of a spacious, organized, lovely new health center!
Reality is... I'll have to make do with the space I have.  Since I've worked in the school setting for 17+ (seriously) years I realize that the space I have is GREAT!  However, I can always dream, right?!
Here are a couple of random office pictures:
The above four pictures are from "my office".
I try to keep it somewhat organized- it is actually a rather large office and a space we use for extra storage, health charts, and vision & hearing screenings. 
This school year I was gifted a "new desk"-
it is really two tables pushed together in an L shape
and I'm sure the pieces are 20+ years old, but they weren't being used and are in great condition!
They beat the folding table and yucky old desk I had used for the last 6 years. 
Anyway.... one of the new desks has a topper on it for my computer monitor and the guys
found me short filing cabinets to fit under each side for
drawer space! I love it- I should have taken a picture :) 
I joke the new desk is so nice I finish twice as much work in half the amount of time!

Those are pictures of the school nurse's "waiting room" area.
There is a clip board for students to sign in and out,
free fruit (we get a basketful everyday from the wonderful cafeteria ladies),
and two old (!) cots for students to sit and wait for us. 
See the picture of the lockers? 
Below the picture we have the schedule printed for the kids...
then below that you see the little square colored pieces of paper? 
Those each correspond with a class period. 
If we have passes that need to be delivered for students we hang our passes there. 
Each class period we have 2-3 student messenger who sit a little round table below that sign-
they deliver passes for us, fill our water pitcher, make ice packs, and make us smile & laugh- remembering what it was like to be a teenager!

... school nurse treatment area desk ...

The above is actually a pencil drawing (from a former student) of a portion of the clinic are. 
This is where the students and staff are cared for!
It is a hodge-podge of old cabinets and desks
mixed with our new cots and desk chairs!
I've seen my share of health centers or nurse's offices
and so I realize how very lucky we are to have the space we have!
If I were allowed to dream though- I would redesign this space (a little bit!).
Moving walls probably aren't in my near future-
but if it were I have some grand plans in my mind!
My "short list" of dreams include:
  1. new office cabinets that match and are functional!
  2. a counter space area for supplies and an area for the students to check their blood sugar.
  3. new flooring.
  4. a new refrigerator- ours is very old!
  5. a new microwave- ours was purchased in 1992!
  6. one of these (affiliate link) FABULOUS ice makersAlthough I would like to have one in  my home; I would LOVE to have one in my office. Can you imagine making ice packs on an as needed basis with these awesome little tiny nugget ice pieces?!  I dream of that day (is that weird?)! 

What does your nurse's office look like?

Do you love it?

Are there things you want to change in your office?

Friday, July 5, 2013

GSA, Student Attendance, and The School Nurse

General State Aid, Student Attendance,

 & The School Nurse

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Hopefully Helpful School Nurse Tip: How can the school nurse assist Illinois schools in collecting General State Aid? Read on for my simple explanation.

I did a lot of research at the end of the school year regarding GSA that
I want to share with you now so you have time to do your own
research before the school year starts!  

Ready? Off we go!

 "What is General State Aid?" 

General State Aid (GSA) is just as complicated as it sounds.

Basically, GSA is a % of funds (money) school districts receive from the state
based on a very detailed, complicated, secretive formula that only several people in the state of Illinois truly understand :)

After reading a lot and talking to several school administrators this is my easy-to-understand summary:

I'm pretty sure the formula involves the actual amount of minutes per day students attend school. "School" is defined as actual academic classes; passing periods and lunch periods do not count.

The state looks at each school district and takes an average of their best 3 months. Then comes up with the amount of money the school district will receive.

Remember, I'm trying to make this explanation easy & just a basic summary :)

What does mean for The School Nurse?

After learning all of this, I began to think- "How can I help my school district's attendance rate and GSA increase?" 

Familiar School Nurse's Office Scenario

Setting the Stage:  The first bell rings and at least one student walks into the nurse's office and states:

Student: "My parents told me to try and make it today, but I don't feel well and I want to go home".

Nurse:  Completes health assessment nothing alarming or potential contagious is found; student's complaints are vague. Nurse calls parents:
Parents: "I really want them to stay at school today. They were fine last night. I told them to try and make it today. What do you think?"

This is what I think... Since GSA is based on minutes, I decided to give the "try and make it" option a specific time. As long as the parent is in agreement then why not see if the student can "make it" for an actual/qualified half day of school attendance?  

In my school district a 1/2 day = 150 minutes of true academic classroom time and an actual full day = 300 minutes of true academic classroom time. See where I'm going with this?  I decided if my health assessment is within normal limits for school attendance, then I'll have students "try to make it" at least a 1/2 day & I'll give them a specific time to return if they still think they need to go home.  For easy reference, I keep the actual times written down on my desk.

What are your thoughts on GSA and The School Nurse?

  • Are you willing to do some research to see what times qualify in your district?
  • Do you think you might give "try and make it" scenarios a specific time this coming school year?

Click HERE for sample Student Attendance Reminders!

Monday, April 15, 2013

i am a foster child...

Do you know a foster child?

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Hopefully Helpful School Nurse Tip: How many of your students over the years have been in foster care? I've known quite a few and some of them have been brave enough to share their stories with me. 

There is one in particular student in foster care who has been on my mind and in my heart these days.

I'm sure her story is similar to many others and it breaks my heart to think about her!

Tonight I told my own little girls how happy I was they were able to live in our house with me. They had no idea what I was really talking about, but went ahead and agreed with me!

What I was really talking about is how sometimes I take all that I have for granted...
then I am reminded during my work day that a lot of kids only wish
for a portion of the things I take for granted :(
How selfish of me!

And so.... here is another I AM POEM ...

Do you know a foster child?

Can you relate to this post?  Do you think they can relate?

I would love to hear from you!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

i am the school nurse


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Hopefully Helpful School Nurse Tip: Writing is an excellent way to share our personal school nurse stories and to help spread awareness about school nurse as a profession. These are two of my I AM poems about being a school nurse. Read mine, then submit yours today!

Yes, I Am The School Nurse

Writing these poems gives me and other school nurses the chance to document who we are professionally and a particular time in our school nursing career. Over the years the poems will change depending on our situations, experiences, and current issues.

The original 'I Am The School Nurse' poem was posted on September 28, 2011
It refers to who I was as a school nurse at that particular time in my career. I then wrote another poem (2013) which represented more closely that time in my professional life and those different experiences I was dealing with. I wish I had written something similar back in 1996 when I first started school nursing- how interesting would that be to read today!?

2013 I Am The School Nurse Poem

2011 I Am The School Nurse Poem

How have you changed over the years?
Is there a particular situation or student that really stands out in your mind?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

i am a parent in denial... poem

Do you know a parent in denial?

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Hopefully Helpful School Nurse Tip: You've probably met a parent in denial. A parent that states "not my kid". There are many who struggle with denial related to a variety of issues.  Author, Linda Durnell, states "We should strive to help, support and understand that which threatens any and all of our families."  This is something school nurses can do too...

I talk to a lot of parents everyday. Probably between 10-25 depending on the day.  There are times when I even get to talk to a parent in denial and I bet you have to.

Parents can be in denial over a variety of issues their child is dealing with.  A few examples include but are not limited to:
  1. grades
  2. attendance
  3. friend choices
  4. clothing choices
  5. overall choices
  6. child health complaints
The list could go on and on and I bet you're thinking of a few things right now.

It can be frustrating when someone so close to a potentially dangerous situation can't seem to see accept what is actually happening. 

     Does being emotionally close to a situation make reality blurred?

I recently read an article related to parents in denial and you can read the article too:  "Not My Kid: when parents are in denial"I related to the article because of a situation I was recently involved with at the high school I work at. It was very frustrated for all of the staff members involved and I bet for the child and parent too.

denial is not helping your child

Helpful School Nurse Resources

A Parent in Denial article:

Denial of Reality

Parents In Denial

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

i am a student with drug addiction... I Am Poem

Student Drug Addiction

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Hopefully Helpful School Nurse Tip: Even young children / young adults can struggle with very grown up issues. School nurses in the middle school / high school setting will see this first hand at some point in their career. When it happens, it is usually shocking, saddening, and makes you feel helpless.

It's Complicated

People of all ages struggle everyday with addiction.

As a school nurse, one part of my job is to explain the school district's drug / alcohol counseling program and to gather urine samples for drug/alcohol urinalysis.
This part of the job can be very emotionally draining.

I see a lot of kids who look like every day teenagers on the outside,
but on the inside they struggle deeply with some very "grown up" problems.

To help keep myself focused on what needed to be done &
instead of "worrying" about things I have absolutely zero control over-

I wrote a poem...

I know you're not surprised! 
I've written other poems before; it seems to be therapeutic for me!
It might be therapeutic for you too- give it a try with this guided form.