Sunday, September 24, 2023

Relaxation Room for Students with Anxiety

How The School Nurse Used DonorsChoose to Fund a Relaxation Room for Students; especially those with anxiety.

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Hopefully Helpful School Nurse Tip: Anxiety is a mental health issue that affects many people, including teenagers. Actually, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders among teenagers.  Approximately 1 in 3 teenagers experiences some form of anxiety during their teenage years. Read on to see how I used a DonorsChoose project to create a Relaxation Room for my students who experience anxiety during the school day.

Inspired by my school’s Sensory Room, I created a Relaxation Room! This room was FULLY FUNDED by my 10th DonorsChoose project & is available to all students at my school 😊  Get all the details & watch the video below ⬇️ 

The Relaxation Room Project 
As school nurses, you've probably experienced a student complaining of anxiety. The symptoms can vary, but many include physical symptoms such as: headaches, stomach aches and muscle tension. Some students may cry, feel short of breath and feel nervous. In addition, some students may complain of excessive worrying, feeling restless, having trouble sleeping, feeling irritable, and having difficulty concentrating. 

My options used to be limited if the student denied school counseling services yet still wanted to try and stay at school.  Not anymore thanks to a fully funded DonorsChoose project!  Now, my students have another option- ten minutes (phone free) in the new Relaxation Room. 

Even though this room is small (maybe 8 feet x 8 feet) & it also has a sink, a door to a water closet (toilet only), and several vintage filing cabinets, it is the perfect size for this project. 

The relaxation room is complete with a reclining massage chair, side table with built in outlets, a galaxy light projector, and a calming 4 foot tall, fake fish tank! The first day of use this room made a positive impact! See how DonorsChoose helped me turn an old cot room from drab to fab!  

Can School Nurses Create DonorsChoose Projects?

DonorsChoose is available to most public school staff; check with your school district for their particular guidelines. Then you can read all about the projects I've completed HERE & start your very own project HERE!

The three main reasons I love using DonorsChoose are: 

  1. DonorsChoose is very user friendly! They provide you with step-by-step directions. 
  2. DonorsChoose collects all donated money. They purchase the items you've selected.
  3. DonorsChoose has the items shipped directly to your public school!

To date, I've received over $4,600 in funding to purchase items for my school nurse office & you can too! I advertise my projects on my personal Facebook page and ask friends and families to share with others. I have received donations from friends, families, businesses, and even strangers who are looking to support public schools!

start your very own project HERE

 Check out these other popular DOASN blog posts & product links.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Meet The School Nurse

Templates For A Meet The School Nurse Letter

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Hopefully Helpful School Nurse Tip: Many school nurse enjoy creating "Meet the School Nurse" letters for the beginning of the year. Guess what?  I'm not one of them, but I wrote this blog post for those of you who are :)

Why create a Meet The School Nurse Letter

There are quite a few reasons that creating a Meet The School Nurse letter is an excellent idea. I just don't do it because I use this instead!

However, many school nurses prefer a simplified one page meet the school nurse letter and hear are a few excellent reasons why!

  1. First, an "about me" welcome to school letter can help establish a positive relationship between the school nurse and the students and their families. By sharing some personal information, such as hobbies, interests, and background, you can create a more approachable and friendly persona, which can help put students and families at ease. 

  2. Second, this type of letter can help communicate the school nurse's nursing background and student health goals for the school year. This is a great time to outline some of the key objectives of the nurse's office, office expectation, medication guidelines, and can help students and families understand what the school health requirements are, what can be expected during  a nurse office visit, and when / how to expect to receive future communication from you.

  3. Finally, an "about me" letter can help build a sense of community. By sharing some information, the school nurse can encourage students and families to share their health concern & questions, which can help foster a sense of belonging and connection.

Are you interested in a Meet The School Nurse letter?

If you're creative and have some free time then you can create your own templates. If you're trying to save time or lost all your creativity because you're to focused on collecting school physicals (!) then I've listed some editable options for you below!

Meet The School Nurse Templates on Etsy


Meet The School Nurse Templates by me on TPT 


 Check out these other popular DOASN blog posts & product links.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Individualized Healthcare Plans and The School Nurse

A brief overview of IHPs & School Nurses

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Hopefully Helpful School Nurse Tip: Are you interested in learning more about IHPs; what they are, how to write them, and how to save time writing them?  If so, then this DOASN blog post is for you- keep reading...

IHP Overview

Real quick, the terms "health care" and "healthcare" are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference in meaning between the two terms. The word phrase "health care" typically refers to the process of supplying medical services to treat illness or injury; whereas "healthcareis a broader term that includes not only medical care, but also the promotion of general health and well-being through preventative measures. It makes sense then that school nurses are responsible for developing Individualized Healthcare Plans (IHP) for many of their students.  

So, Individualized Healthcare Plans in the school setting not only discuss medical care, but also interventions to promote the overall health of a specific student. Based on the nursing process and initiated by a school nurse, IHPs are written by a school nurse for nursing staff. The information included in the IHP is used to create other school health related plans that may be needed for health, safety, and academic success for the specific student.

IHPs must included information that is compliant with the state nurse practice act and standards of school nursing for the state specific in which it is written. According to the National Association of School Nurses, an IHP:
"It is the position of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) that the registered professional school nurse (hereinafter referred to as school nurse) initiates and develops an Individualized Healthcare Plan (IHP) for students whose healthcare needs require more complex school nursing services.  An IHP is a plan of care written by the registered nurse for students with or at risk for physical or mental health needs (ANA & NASN, 2017).  It is the responsibility of the school nurse to annually evaluate the IHP, as well as to update the plan if deemed appropriate, to reflect changes in the student’s healthcare needs and address nursing interventions and/or student healthcare outcomes." NASN, 2023 IHP Position Statement

IHP Templates

Use IHP templates to help yourself save some much needed time! Speaking of time- one of my goals is to create general IHPs for common health conditions school nurses need to write IHPs for; however, I just haven't found the time yet.

I do have an editable Google IHP template that you might find helpful. It is 100% editable and contains all of the recommended IHP components. You can purchase your own copy for $5 here


 Check out these other popular DOASN blog posts & product links.


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Bulletin Board Ideas for School Nurses

School Nurse Bulletin Boards

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Hopefully Helpful School Nurse Tip: When planning a school nurse bulletin board, it is important to keep the purpose, audience, timeliness, and interactivity in mind. By doing so, the bulletin board can be a valuable tool for promoting health & wellness within the school community. I don't do bulletin boards, but if I did this post contains some really great ideas!

Things to Consider when Planning a School Nurse Bulletin Board

When planning a school nurse bulletin board, there are several things to consider in order to make the board as informative and engaging as possible for students, staff, and parents. First, consider the purpose of the bulletin board. Is it to provide general health information, promote healthy habits, or educate students about a specific health topic? Once the purpose is determined, it will be easier to choose the appropriate content for the board.

Next, consider the audience. The tone and language used on the bulletin board should be age-appropriate and easy to understand. Use visuals such as pictures, diagrams, and infographics to communicate important health information. Consider the layout of the bulletin board as well. Use headings and subheadings to organize the information and make it easy to follow.

Another important factor to consider is the timeliness of the information. Make sure the content on the bulletin board is relevant and up-to-date. Consider changing the content on a regular basis to keep the board fresh and interesting.  This is the exact reason I don't do bulletin boards- I can't promise that I will have time to change it up on a regular basis. 

Finally, consider incorporating interactive elements into the bulletin board. For example, include QR codes to reliable websites where students and staff can get more information, maybe have a handout or coloring page related to the health topic that students can take with them. This will encourage students to engage with the content and learn in a fun way.

Bulletin Board Examples & Suggestions from Real School Nurses!

If you're not already a member of The School Nurse Facebook groups then you should be!  Join HERE and HERE by answering all of the membership questions :) Both of these groups provide members with the chance to:
  1. Gain insights & inspiration from the personal experiences from other school nurses. 
  2. Stay up-to-date on current topics and issues related to school nursing.
  3. Discover creative solutions to common challenges faced by school nurses.
  4. Network with other school nurses who are members of the groups.
  5. Find resources and recommendations for books, conferences, and other professional development opportunities.
  6. Keep abreast of changes in policies and regulations that impact school nursing.
  7. Get tips and advice for managing a caseload of students with diverse health needs.
  8. Learn about best practices for promoting wellness and preventing illness in the school environment.
  9. Be part of a supportive community of school nurses who value ongoing learning and growth.

Check out these Fb group posts if you're ready to see bulletin boards created by other school nurses!

Click the images below to view a list of all posts related to bulletin boards within each of these Fb groups! Look within the comments of these posts; many have pictures and some of links too.

 Check out these other popular DOASN blog posts & product links.


Thursday, July 6, 2023

School Nurse Advice

Advice For New School Nurses

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Hopefully Helpful School Nurse Tip: A new career as a school nurse can be daunting, but it can also be an exciting opportunity for growth and fulfillment. I'll post links below to relevant DOASN blog posts that will help you get started on your journey. Remember, starting a new career takes time and effort, but with dedication and perseverance, you can find a fulfilling and rewarding path.

Welcome to the world of school nursing!
Dear new school nurse,

On behalf of other school nurses, I want to extend a warm welcome to you as your begin your school nursing career.  Please remember, your role as a school nurse is critical in ensuring the health and well-being of students, staff, and faculty. Your experience and knowledge will be invaluable as you navigate the challenges that lay ahead. Be confident knowing that you will make a positive impact on your school and your community. Once again, welcome to school nursing. I'm wishing you a successful and fulfilling career as a school nurse.

Elisabeth AKA The School Nurse

Advocacy & Support

Advocacy and support for school nurses are crucial for ensuring the health and well-being of students and school staff. School nurses play a critical role in promoting health education, providing preventative care, and managing chronic conditions. By advocating for school nurses, we can ensure that schools have the resources and support necessary to provide quality healthcare services to students.

Supporting school nurses can lead to improved academic outcomes as healthy students are better able to focus and learn. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize advocacy and support for school nurses to maintain a healthy school environment and promote student success.


Mentorship & Networking

Networking and mentoring are both beneficial for school nurses, but they serve different purposes. 

Networking involves building relationships with other professionals in the same field or industry, which can lead to new job opportunities, sharing of resources and ideas, and expanding one's knowledge and skills. On the other hand, mentoring involves a more personal relationship between a more experienced school nurse and a less experienced school nurse, where the mentor provides guidance, support, and advice on career development and professional growth. 

While networking can be done with multiple people, mentoring typically involves a one-on-one relationship. Finding a mentor is important for new school nurses.  A mentor can offer advice on how to handle difficult situations, share best practices, and provide insight into the unique challenges of working in a school setting. 

In addition, having a mentor can help new school nurses build confidence and establish a professional network. Overall, finding a mentor can be a valuable resource for new school nurses as they navigate their role and responsibilities in the school healthcare setting.  

School nurses can find networking & mentorship opportunities via online avenues. Check out a few online resources listed below.

Google Search Results "School Nurse Mentor"
Google Search Results "School Nurse Networking"

Duties & Responsibilities
School nurses have a variety of duties and responsibilities. Not only are they responsible for managing student health records, administering medications and treatments, and providing first aid and emergency care; they also may be responsible for conducting health screenings, developing and implementing health education programs, and collaborating with other healthcare professionals to ensure the overall health and well-being of students. 

School nurses play a critical role in promoting a healthy school environment and supporting the academic success of students.  The duties and responsibilities of each school nurse should be defined with state practice guidelines and school district needs.


Routines & Boundaries

Establishing a daily routine with clear boundaries (including taking a lunch break) can be essential for school nurses. Routines can help you manage your workload effectively, ensure that they have time for self-care, and prevent burnout. 

Remember, you are setting a healthy example for your students and staff too. Would you encourage them to skip lunch daily or eat while working?  If not, then you need to prioritize your lunch break too. Taking your lunch break can help you recharge, attend to their personal needs, and ultimately provide better care to students. It is important to prioritize self-care and establish healthy habits to maintain overall well-being and provide the best possible care to those in need.


Organization & Decor

Having an organized school nurse's office is crucial for several reasons:
  1. It ensures that all necessary medical supplies and equipment are easily accessible and readily available when needed. This can be critical in emergency situations where time is of the essence. 
  2. An organized office helps to maintain a clean and sanitary environment, minimizing the risk of infections or the spread of illness. It can also help to streamline administrative tasks, such as record-keeping and inventory management, allowing nurses to spend more time providing care to patients. 
  3. An organized nurse's office is essential for providing efficient, effective, and high-quality healthcare services.
School nurses spend a lot of time at work, take the time to create a space that is functional and makes you feel good. An aesthetically pleasing office space is important for several reasons:
  1. It sets the tone; a visually appealing workspace can impress students & staff, helping to create a professional and trustworthy image for your school. 
  2. Creating a positive and comfortable work environment can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
  3. A well-designed office space can also reflect the values and culture of your school and your professional values as well. 


Funding & Budgets & Supplies

Public school budgets are the financial plans that outline how funds will be allocated to various school programs and services. The funding for school nurse staff is typically included in the overall budget and varies depending on factors such as the size of the school district, the number of schools, and the student population. Funding can come from a variety of sources, including federal and state grants, local property taxes, and fundraising efforts. 

School nurse staff play an important role in promoting student health and wellness, and it is essential that schools allocate adequate funding to ensure that students have access to quality healthcare services.  

One way to provide quality is to have the supplies you need & to know where (& how) to purchase those supplies. You'll want to find out what your school year budget is and what you are required to purchase from that budget & from where you can purchase items. 

The easiest way for me to get supplies is to place a purchase order with the assigned person at my school district through our Amazon Business account! This account offers no tax and quick (usually two day), free shipping! You can view all of my supply lists HERE.


 Check out these other popular DOASN blog posts & product links.