School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Musings from a Maine School Nurse- We are at a Flashpoint

Judy Doran, a Maine school nurse leader reached out after reading this NYT article, ‘They See Us as the Enemy’: School Nurses Battle Covid-19, and Angry Parents by Emily Anthes. Thank you Judy for sharing your perspective on the article and what is happening in your Maine district.
We learn from each other’s experiences. 
Hey Robin,
Sunday morning writing jag again….I HOPE you are doing better than we are. My hunch would be likely not. This is some kind of hellscape.
Nice job on the NYT article. I have two comments on her coverage which every article on pandemic school nursing all dig into…..I wish they would just leave out the “it’s not bandaids and ice any more” point. Even when they qualify it, it is a distraction. And the second one is staffing shortages. The reader is lead to believe that staffing would fix it. It would help and I can speak to that. Even in a fully staffed district with EXTRA support the work load is unmanageable. I’ve started to wonder, are we doing too much? Can we let anything go? I don’t think so unless we throw up our hands. Our “local public health authority” is Maine CDC. There is no stepping stone between the third grade classroom with 6 out of 15 kids positive and the state CDC. We are it. How does this translate? To the parent, “if you’re asking me if I’d send my child in to school in these circumstances, the answer is a hard NO.” To admin, “The CDC will NEVER tell you to close and will always say this is a local decision. We are telling you that now is a good time to exercise that decision and pause in person school for a few days.” The show went on, 10% out on Q, 10% stayed home out of caution and the cases kept rolling in. 
5 out of 5 schools in outbreak status.
in school cases tens of times higher rate than county
prom last week
big football game yesterday
more hospitalized in Maine today than any time since march 2020
Nurses are crying
Every mitigation measure in place and still
Too many cases to keep track of
Parents are yelling
Losing perspective….is this as bad as I think or am I stuck in a mindset?
Is this a case or a catastrophe? Depends. And I’m not sure what to depend on. I cannot tell you what to depend on except please get vaccinated and get your kids vaccinated and tell all of your friends.
Where is my escape hatch?
Teachers want answers
“pockets”of low vaccination rates across the state…. we are 81% here and on fire. 
What is actually going on?
Is there a relief valve around here somewhere?
It’s raining and I’m swabbing a colleague’s baby in my driveway because she cannot get a test elsewhere today. WHERE ARE WE??
Could somebody please talk to us as a national group? acknowledge us, reassure us, support us. No hero signs, no yoga classes. TALK to us. 
Better yet, talk to the millions of families who depend on us to keep their kids safe.
Let’s be real. Things are NOT ok.  could we please acknowledge that?
I’m a card carrying member of that national group and I am working harder than I’ve ever worked before. Unseen, working way in the background which is a great place to be until the whole damned economy and mental health of the united states hinges on your work. And a sizeable chunk of the people you deal with think you are single handedly trying to take down the world with your dumb rules and protocols.
Wow, talk about being in a weird position. It would be interesting if it weren’t so damned exhausting and at this point approaching scary. 
Inching towards flashpoint. Oil is smoking.
Hope you are well..
Is that what is happening?????????

1 thought on “The Relentless School Nurse: Musings from a Maine School Nurse- We are at a Flashpoint”

  1. We are exhausted. I am tired of explaining patiently to parents about the return to school process! I didn’t write it! (If I did, it would be stricter.)
    Our State Board of Education (Maryland) is meeting in a special session on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 1:00pm. They have invited public comment. Oddly, they are holding this during the school day. I see this as a way to stop any comment by public school employees, including School Nurses.
    I just sent my letter to the MD BOE, stating firmly for them to keep the current mask mandate in place for the current school year. It is the best I can do, as I will be working during their meeting.
    I will continue to mask, continue to mask any ill children in my health room.
    We must remain strong, determined, and steadfast.
    We are exhausted. I will not quit.

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