CLS, a note...

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by BethM, Nov 29, 2002.

  1. BethM

    BethM New Member

    Hi, just wonderering where you work as a school nurse. I had to chuckle about your comment of working with 800 students... I left a job I'd had for 12 years because the district had grown from 9 to 14 schools, and still refused to increase the nursing staff from 2 school nurses. THAT was an insane position, covering 7 schools and 7000 students, and caused my FMS to be horrible at that time. In March of 2000 I accepted my present job. Changing jobs was stressful, but was one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. And my old district STILL has only 2 nurses. I have one high school, in fact switched to a brand new school this year and love it. ONLY 1500 kids, as we only have 9th and 10th graders. We will eventually have about 3200 students there. I do have days when I wonder how long I can keep working full time, but most of the time I do ok. Helps not to have kids at home anymore, and a wonderful and supportive spouse.

    We do have to bend our lives around this DD, don't we? It's a shame, but we do. Just have to make the best of it!

    Peace,
    Beth.
  2. BethM

    BethM New Member

    Hi, just wonderering where you work as a school nurse. I had to chuckle about your comment of working with 800 students... I left a job I'd had for 12 years because the district had grown from 9 to 14 schools, and still refused to increase the nursing staff from 2 school nurses. THAT was an insane position, covering 7 schools and 7000 students, and caused my FMS to be horrible at that time. In March of 2000 I accepted my present job. Changing jobs was stressful, but was one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. And my old district STILL has only 2 nurses. I have one high school, in fact switched to a brand new school this year and love it. ONLY 1500 kids, as we only have 9th and 10th graders. We will eventually have about 3200 students there. I do have days when I wonder how long I can keep working full time, but most of the time I do ok. Helps not to have kids at home anymore, and a wonderful and supportive spouse.

    We do have to bend our lives around this DD, don't we? It's a shame, but we do. Just have to make the best of it!

    Peace,
    Beth.
  3. cls

    cls New Member

    I'm glad I gave you a laugh. I know, I'm spoiled. In my district in New Jersey, we have one nurse per school building. We (the school district nurses) therefore consider a number like 800 a tremendous burden. I have attended school nurse drug prevention programs where there are nurses from all over the country and have heard the horror stories of large numhers of students the nurses service. And you have 1500 students!!!! 9th and 10th graders!!!! how can you have any time to take it easy on your bad days. I worked in a middle school for six years that had 700 students and worked from the time I got there until the time I left. The best way to ensure getting a lunch was to leave the building. Any way, although it is not nice that you have fm, it is nice to know that there is another school nurse reading the message boards.
    Connie
    [This Message was Edited on 12/07/2002]
  4. BethM

    BethM New Member

    Thanks for your reply. I'm curious what your duties are, what is expected of school nurses in New Jersey? With a small population, do you do health teaching in the classrooms? Also, are you part of the credentialed (teaching) staff? Forgive me for being so nosy, and tell me to stop asking questions if it's not alright!

    Peace,
    Beth.
    [This Message was Edited on 11/30/2002]
  5. cls

    cls New Member

    Hi Beth,
    Your questions don't bother me.
    Are you thinking of coming to New Jersey to work? Trading sunny california for humid new jersey? now there's a choice. The work includes making up and maintaining health records on all students, making sure immunizations are completed, we do have mandatory mantoux tb testing on some of our grade levels, so, depending on the age group we service, the nurse can be responsible for doing the testing on the grade level (i.e. maybe 200 mantoux tests on the eighth grade students), doing first aid and health counseling for all the students who come to the office, average 40-50 students per day, doing health care plans on students who have special needs, training staff on bloodborne pathogen and basic first aid management, giving meds, head lice checks and followup, covering neighboring schools when a nurse is sick, scoliosis screenings, etc. new jersey has also mandated that k, 1st, grade 6, and next year all high school students have completed hepatis b series, so that is creating a lot of record review and notices to parents (we don't give immunizations). Some of the nurses are busier than others, depending on the population in the school and how much extra you want to build into the job. We are not required to teach but there are some health related lessons that we provide. The nurses are in the teacher's union and we have the same contract as the teachers. How does this compare to your situation?
    Connie
  6. BethM

    BethM New Member

    Sounds like you do pretty much what I do, although I only deal with grades 9-12. I work now for a high school district. You didn't mention special education. I know California has its own set of laws for special ed, and they are very stringent. I do many assessments for new referrals and triennial re-assessments, as the kids have to be completely re-assessed every 3 years. Our jobs definitely keep us busy! We don't have the mandated Mantoux testing yet, although most districts in Southern CA do. I read them for staff and students as needed, but that's about it. Also, HepB is mandated for Kindergarten and 7th grade entry only, and my district does not require completed HepB imms. So, I don't push that, as I just don't have time. I am planning an imms sweep soon, however. By high school, the kids should all have up to date shot records, and it's amazing how quickly the records get found when I tell parents I will exclude their kid if I don't have them! I was working in my old district when our HepB mandates started up, and that was an interesting start of the school year for my middle school. Interestingly, when I switched from clinic/hospital nursing many years ago, my colleagues gave me a hard time about not doing 'real nursing'. Ha! Different setting, different focus, but we work just as hard as they do! I like specializing, as it fits my personality better.

    No, I'm not considering moving to New Jersey! It's good to hear that our jobs are similar, though. A definite 'perk' for us, though is winter break. 2 and a half weeks, and then I get my much needed 2 weeks off. It's good not to have to make rapid fire decisions for awhile. I had a 5 day Thanksgiving holiday, though, and should've had 6 days, as I am recovering from a cold that decided to hit my sinuses and airways. I'm much better now, and will be fine to get back to my office tomorrow. I don't get sick often, but too many kids came in with the same bug, I think. Happens once in awhile! With having FMS and MPS, those breaks are good for recharging. Knowing one is coming keeps me going, definitely.

    be well, Connie!

    Peace,
    Beth.

  7. cls

    cls New Member

    It's fun having a pen pal so to speak. I'm getting ready to go to bed and am sad that the 5 day break is over and a five day work week is just ahead. Non-school workers have no sympathy. But--as you said, Christmas break is just ahead. Do you have a summer break, or do your school run 12 months. I have some recollection of some schools in the west coast that switched to year round schools. I worked almost all of last summer doing some administrative work. I plan on taking it easy this summer!
    I saw your post the other day about your concerns for your parents. I hope everything is ok. My father has Alzheimers and my mother has bad gout and kidney problems so I have lots of worries in that area also. I have two brothers who live closer to my parents than I do, but have still been trying to visit a lot because I feel that my presence is helpful. Life isn't perfect is it.
    Feel better from your sinus/cold and best wishes for healthy days.
    Connie
  8. BethM

    BethM New Member

    Hi, Connie. Sorry it took me so long to reply, been very busy at work, very tired at night. We did team vision and hearing screening at one of our schools today. All 8 nurses and some of the speech and lanaguage specialists gather at each high school to test the 10th graders, as per California ed. code requirements. It's a good way to get it all done at once, although it can be tough to just test vision all day. We were in an auditorium today, and it was too cold in there for me. That makes the fibro act up, and I'm achy tonight. I'm hoping it'll go away by tomorrow, or at least calm down. My school will be done last, at the end of February. It also is a chance for all of us to get together and chat and talk shop, so it's a good day all around. My vision machine conked out, though, at the end of the day. It shocked me when I touched it, and both my machine and another connected to the same extension cord went dark. The other one came back online, but I think the bulb blew out on mine. Very strange. Tomorrow I get to figure out how to put in a new bulb. Wish me luck!

    My district is on a standard year. It's difficult to put high schools on a year round calendar because of sports and band activities. The kids start after Labor Day and we end in early June. I like having summers off, but it would be better to have some of that time scheduled throughout the year so I don't get so exhausted by May. I'm sure you know about the end of the year push to finish everything. Usually takes me a week to recover after school gets out.

    Ok, this is long enough, it's late, and I need to toddle off to bed.
    Peace,
    Beth.
  9. cls

    cls New Member

    Hi Beth,
    I hope you had luck getting your vision screener bulb fixed, if it was an instaline, i know that it was a challenge. sometimes at work i've given students a shock when i touch them, i think it only happens when the heat is on so the suggestion that was made about humidifying the air may be good.
    Mass screenings can be exhausting, too much non-stop, repetitive action. On monday, i will be 'holding the fort', so to speak, at one of our busy middle schools while 3 other nurses go around to the 8th grade classes and do mantoux testing on about 200 students.
    i have not been feeling well lately,more pain and less sleep, feeling pretty depressed. must be in some kind of flare which may be triggered off by anxiety about a job change. a year ago i was moved in to a tempory nurse supervisor position after our supevisor retired. it was very busy and challenging, so i could be distracted from my pain at work. no one was being hired so i thought i would be staying in the job, but they hired someone (from out of district which was frustrating) right before the school year started. i've been orienting her to the district. after christmas i go back to my regular job, but am frustrated because i still see so much that i could do regarding the school health programs if they kept me in an assistant to the supervisor position. but you know school districts! my school is nice and i know that i will be enjoying working with the kids again but i'm having a hard time with this transition.
    i hpe you are having a restful weekend and that things are well with you.
  10. BethM

    BethM New Member

    Hope your weekend is pleasant and not too cold and snowy! Have you been affected by the Eastern storms? Any school closures? I expect to miss a couple of days this year because of snow, as I drive over a mountain pass, the Cajon Pass, every day to work. We get a little snow at our house most winters, enough to be pretty, and to remind me I don't like snow, and then it melts. But the Pass gets ugly at times, because of black ice, and people here just don't handle bad driving weather well, really. I carry chains in the trunk of my car, but if I have to use them, I'd rather stay home! I hate to think what putting chains on the tires would do to me physically. yuck! I decided last winter that if my 30 minute drive is going to take an hour and a half in wretched and stressful conditions, it's just better to stay home than risk a full on flare from the stress.

    I agree with you about mass screenings. I've learned to get up and stretch whenever possible during screenings, and to be careful about my posture. My colleagues also bring lots of treats to eat, so I'm careful to go very easy on the sugar stuff, too. Some days are more successful with that than others! Of all the screenings, scoliosis screening is hardest on me, just leaves me wrung out and in pain. Fortunately, since I only work high school, I don't have to deal with that anymore! Or head lice, for that matter, since after puberty the critters pretty much leave the kids alone.

    I admire that you want to do supervising work. That's not for me, and I'm glad there are those who like it. I don't have the energy anymore, in fact I'm finding that there are things I need to be doing at work that aren't getting done because I run out of steam. I used to be able to do it, but the fibro is wearing me down, I think, along with the cold I've been fighting. I hope you can relax and enjoy being back at your school. It's always refreshing to work with the kids again.

    Turns out the bulbs in my Titmus telebinocular screener were ok. I burned out a circuit that controls the sensor that senses when a face is placed in the viewers panel. Fortunately, there's an override switch that I can use to get past that, but it will eventually have to go back to the manufacturer for repairs, which means I won't have it for a couple of weeks. gack. They close for the holidays while we are on break, so that won't work. I'll probably send it in at the end of January, during final exams, when I don't do much testing. I'll be sure to ground myself before I touch the machine from now on, and I plan to get a small fountain for my office.

    Enjoy the weekend! We are going to a family party this evening, and I am looking forward to seeing them all. So far, every Saturday evening in December is booked for us. Whew. Anyway, hang in there until break time!

    Peace,
    Beth.
    [This Message was Edited on 12/07/2002]
  11. cls

    cls New Member

    We did have a snow storm on Thursday. All the surrounding districts to mine closed, but we had school. Only half the students and teachers came and they closed the schools at 1:30. When I got out to my car there was six inches of snow and ice all over the windows which i had to get off to go home. I was extra sore the next day. I was suprised to read you are in an area with snow. I thought for some reason you were in southern part of the state. What part of the state are you in? Black ice terrifies me. When I first started nursing I took care of a young woman paralyzed from the waist down due to losing control of her car on ice. That really had an impact on me. I can't imagine having to put chains on my tires. It sounds silly, but sometimes just thinking about doing some activity creates a pain image in my mind.

    You have a titmus? We still have schools using snellens. A few lucky ones have the instaline. In my school i switched from my snellen to the LEA chart which i really like because the students can't memorize the chart. I would rather have a titmus than an instaline, but I'll never have enough money in my budget to buy that. Each of our schools allots their nurse budget funds each year. Some of the nurses have such small budgets it's hard to just keep basic supplies.

    I know what you mean about running out of steam at work and knowing that there are times when you could have followed thru a little more but you just didn't have the energy. I think one reason I've been able to continue working during times I am really sick is because I can pace myself. With this current supervisor job if I'm that bad I just take the day off, but not often because there is too much to do. So for the past year i've been pushing myself to work, coming home exhausted.
    I still have two teenagers at home (one at college) and my husband who is tired of me being sick all the time so I usually feel guilty when I come home and crash. I am determined to work until my kids are through with college, so I try to do what I can to keep my body healthy even though I take various meds. I've always had so much guilt about the meds but lately I'm coming to realize that is how I'm surviving. I also take lots of nutritional supplements and try to stretch daily (unless I hurt too much).
    Hope your work week goes well and that neither one of us gets too much snow or ice.
    Connie
  12. BethM

    BethM New Member

    in the Mojave Desert, in Southern California, about 2 and a half hours from Las Vegas, Nevada. We live in the high desert, at 3800 feet, and the Pass is at 4200 feet. Above us, about 30 minutes away is a mountain resort town, with a ski area above the town, at about 7000 feet. The ski area opened before Thanksgiving this year, with a 3 foot base of man-made snow. This time of year it's down in the 30's at night, cold enough to get frost many mornings. We get more snow some winters, less others. One memorable winter many years ago we had a huge storm. When I finally made it home from work 'down the hill', I walked next door (across a field, we all have acreage here) to get my kids, and had to carry the younger one home, as at 4 years old, the snow was up to his chest. That was unusual, and hasn't happened since. Usually our snow is measured in inches. But, we do get weather, not just climate.

    I like the definite change of seasons, but the cold is tough to deal with sometimes. I use microwave 'warmie packs' to warm up my bed so I sleep better, but it's cold in the mornings when I get up! It's easier for me to get moving on warm, balmy summer mornings.

    Each school in my district has a Titmus screener, except for my old school, which has an ancient Keystone. The Keystone is old, but it works, and it uses numbers instead of letters, which is useful for non English speaking students. I used an Instaline at the first district I worked at, and other than being cumbersome, it's a good screening instrument. Part of the fun of opening a new school is all new equipment. Now if they'd just get my cupboard installed and bring the storage cupboard I've been promised! All in its own time, I suppose.

    I know the guilty feelings of being sick or tired or whatever all the time, and feeling like I'm not contributing my share to the household. I was ok when my kids were young, and later they understood, I think, that sometimes Mom just couldn't do stuff. I've learned to minimize my housekeeping standards, out of self defense, and fortunately, no one else in the household cared, so that was to my benefit! The house just gets dirty again, especially since we live on a dirt road. Ok, my house is clean, just not sparkly, and not all at the same time! I'd love to have a housecleaning person, but it's just not in the budget. Kids in college is expensive!!

    I've felt pretty good this weekend, and am grateful for that, but if I don't get to bed soon, I'll have a rough start for the week. Have a great week, winter break is almost here!

    Peace,
    Beth.
  13. cls

    cls New Member

    Hi Beth,
    Today was Mantoux testing day at one of our middle schools. The testing went well but I'm exhausted. I obviously don't have the stamina for working a middle school any more. Three nurses went to 3 or 4 homeroom classrooms and did the tests. Any complainers/problem situations were sent to me. I did that plus the office traffic which was non-stop. For some reason the front of my thighs are really painful. It's a go to bed early with a hot pack night.
    Connie
  14. BethM

    BethM New Member

    It's definitely a hot pack and early to bed day. I love the yoga class, but I'm very premenstrual, and I think it's too much for me this week. I took a pain pill on the way home from class last night, slept badly, running a low grade fever again today. The fever hits when I'm really fatigued. We saw 43 kids yesterday. I am so very grateful that was a health assistant day. I only get her 8 hours a week, although she covers the office if I need to be gone for testing at other schools, or meetings, or whatever.

    Any kind of mass screening is exhausting. Been there... I'm so sorry this one wore you out so thoroughly. As needed as it is, I'm glad we don't do the Mantoux testing with our students. I have to plan for vision screening end of February, and that is enough! In my old district I had to do all that for 7 schools. It's pretty obvious why I left! Maybe next time someone else can handle the problems and you could just do the sticking? Who gets to read all these little arms? And then there's the follow up, too.

    We switched to the Aeries computer program for school data, a couple of years ago. The change-over was grueling, but it's a powerful program. I'll be able to tell it to label all the 10 graders with a pass for vision and for hearing, and then will have to go in and just change the fails and absents. Decreases the work load.

    It's a good thing I truly love my career. Days like today I'd rather be home curled up in front of the fireplace with tea and a book, with no responsibilites at all. I can dream...

    I hope you recover quickly.

    Peace,
    Beth.
  15. cls

    cls New Member

    I have worked for 28 years now, and still love my job -most of the time :)
    The thigh pain stopped, but I woke with bad pains in my feet today. My guess is that I flared up my L4-5 disc problem yesterday because I have had that symptom before, went 2 years with it before it was properly diagnosed. Feeling tired and out of sorts all day. My eyes are feeling pretty fatigued lately. Have to remember to start eye drops again.
    You are lucky that you have a good computer program. Out district bought in to a system that is supposed to accomodate every department in the district, but using it for medical information is terrible. I do have a good computer though, so I do a lot of record keeping with Excel, but still have to do final documentation in the health records by hand.

    I feel like the ancient image of the school nurse when I do the handwritten documentation, sitting at my desk, wearing my glasses and sensible shoes, poring over records and making my notations. After 28 years of nursing, what other image can I expect. At least I'm not wearing a white uniform and cap! Did you ever wear a cap? I wore mine for about a month as a new graduate, it kept getting caught in bed curtains do I ditched it. Wearing those startched pieces of cardboard on your head is pretty silly, isn't it (gee, I hope you are not a cap lover)

    That thought of curling up with tea and a book sounds alfully good. I may actually have to do that soon because I have a final exam Thusday evening for a course I'm taking.

    Take care,
    Connie
  16. BethM

    BethM New Member

    Hi, Connie, hope you are holding up ok with the cold winter weather. We actually have storms due in tonight, Monday, and late next week. Snow level should stay above 5000 feet, so I'll be safe for my commute. I hope.

    I am so glad I don't have to do hand written entries into health records. My hands would never survive. The data entry is hard enough on them. I do have this image of you, late in the afternoon, poring over student records, making notations, as the day gets darker and darker... Too dedicated, I think! The only drawback to being so computer focused is when the system goes down, and the entire administration building comes to a grinding halt. Now that we are site based with our servers, it only affects one school, used to affect the whole district when the server went down. Chaos, sheer chaos. Computers are a curse and a blessing, I suppose.

    Caps... yep, had to wear one when I was a young nurse, but we Kaiser nurses (where I started out) joined together and forced the administration to allow us to ditch the caps AND be allowed wear pants to work. Quite a victory. Nothing quite like working with an ortho patient and having your cap (and some hair) yanked off your head when it catches in the overhead equipment. I worried about spreading germs via the caps, too, as they couldn't be washed every day. Good riddance, I say!

    I am very ready for winter break. I'm tired to the point of fibro fog, and that is neither healthy nor productive for me at work. Next week on Wednesday I will be going to a seminar on liability and school nursing, and Thursday we are team screening for vision and hearing at another school, so my week will be broken up a bit. Friday will be a lost day for work, really, so there will be the week. The health assistant will be there half days Monday and Friday and covering Wed and Thurs., so that will help, too. I hope 2 weeks will be enough to recuperate... I'm not sure why the fatigue is so bad now, but I can't seem to shake it. A bit of depression, too, I think. Maybe I need more sunlight, maybe need to go back to my therapist, maybe both. Hmmm.

    Anyway, we are off to brave the mall and run errands today, and the school nurse team is meeting tonight for a holiday potluck, fortunately at the nursing coordinator's house which is not far from mine. The others will find out first hand what our commute is like, as they all live 'down the hill'. I don't really want to go, but it would be rude not to. Saturday is the only full day my spouse and I have together because of work schedules, and I'd rather be home. Oh, well, gotta do what we gotta do!

    Be well, stay warm!
    Beth.