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.
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