It’s been a harrowing day of insanity at the nurse’s office. My feet are throbbing from dashing around in my heels, I’m lightheaded from lack of food, and I have a tingling in my bladder from not getting to use the bathroom…I’m pretty sure I may have peed my pants when I sneezed. Lots of kids puking, right? Allergy season running amuck? Playground injuries?
No, no, and a resounding no. Oh sure, I see all that during the day, but those things, I don’t mind. They’re part of my job. What’s more, vomiting and injuries don’t bother me. I actually look forward to real nursing duties during the day. Splinters and scraped knees and migraines, oh my! Got an immunization question? I bet I know the answer! What’s that rash? Not sure, but I’ll do my best to find out. What foods are in the vegetable AND grain group…I know that too! (Answer: it’s corn and potatoes)
That’s what I’m here for, what I studied for. But apparently I’ve come to learn over the last fourteen years, “school nurse” is synonymous with MOMMY. Anything they can’t figure out what to do about, I get to tackle. Because after all, having gone to nursing school makes me the most qualified individual in the building to zip up pants.
And that’s #10 on my list: Clothing issues. About five times a day, I get, “Can you button my pants? Can you zip my pants? Can you tie my shoes?” When the kids get their zipper on their jacket stuck, they get sent to me. Yup, cuz that Bio class I took really helped with the task of zippering. Oh, and I had a teacher send me a kid to zip their hood of their coat to the top of the coat. What. The. ???
#9. Loose teeth. I’m not a dentist. I don’t pull teeth. It’ll come out when it’s ready. Come back when it comes out and I’ll give you a cute little treasure chest and help you rinse your mouth. I repeat, I am NOT pulling your tooth. No, please don’t show me how far you can twist it because I’m still not pulling it.
#8. Invisible paper cuts. This is a biggie. In fact, I might estimate this accounts for 50% of my day. If I can’t see it, you don’t need a Band-Aid.
#7. Spilled milk/ juice/ water/ condiments. When the kids spill on themselves at lunch, like they’re apt to, I get to figure out what to do with them. Sometimes, I’ll call home. Usually, moms and dads cannot leave work just to bring their kids an extra set of clothes (which I TOTALLY understand). Sometimes I have an extra shirt they can wear or we can blow dry it, but if I don’t, this causes quite the ruckus. Heaven forbid anyone has ketchup stain on their shirt. Oh and dog/geese poop on the shoes. Apparently anything that has to do with bodily functions (human OR animal) is relegated to school nurses.
#6. Chapped lips. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Stop licking your lips!!!!!!
#5. Something happened yesterday/ over the weekend/ four months ago, and now it “stings”. I’m not talking about a broken arm. I’m talking those invisible paper cuts again. Oh and “it hurts when I do this” (taps lip, bends hand all the way back, cracks knuckles, tries to do a backflip, or any other thing you should not be doing in the first place). My answer? “Don’t do that and it’ll stop hurting.”
#4. Lice. Yes, I realize checking for lice is in my job description. HOWEVER, it is not the end of the freakin’ world. If I tell you I will check later/ tomorrow/ soon…the world as we know it will NOT end. Lice is at the bottom of my pile of “Important things to deal with today”. (The kid with the broken finger and the other one with the split lip kind of take precedence.) Teachers: I do not want to check your hair. I do not think that you got lice because you were in the same room as someone who had lice. Don’t want to possibly catch lice? Don’t go to the movies. Or leave your coat in a coat closet at a restaurant. Or sit on a plane. It’s all around us people. (Insert freak out here…)
#3. Speaking of all around us…when there is “something going around” and the teachers want every person who sneezes and coughs or has a pink tinged eye to go home so they don’t “bring anything home to their kids, spouse, dog, etc. etc.”. As a PSA, I can assure you there is ALWAYS something going around. If you don’t want to ever catch something, don’t leave your house. And certainly don’t work in an elementary school. That’s like rolling around in a patch of poison ivy and not expecting the rash that surfaces three days later. Here’s a clue…if I’m not running in the other direction, there’s no need for you to worry. Who do you think deals with EVERY illness to cross the threshold of the school? Oh, and wash your hands.
#2. “So and so shouted and it hurts my ear”. Okay, and what would you like me to do about this? No really, seriously? None of the kids seem to mind the headphones blasting in their eardrums 24/7.
#1. My absolute favorite. Stuff spilled in backpacks (ie. milk, water, soda). THIS IS NOT A MEDICAL ISSUE!!!!!! Enough said.