School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Entering COVID School Nursing Year #4 – Let’s Try “Ugly Coping”

Calvin & Hobbs – illustrator/creator Bill Watterson


The theme of the summer was setting boundaries. As I had some space from the COVID chaos of the past three school years (yes, we are entering year #4), I felt a sense of peace and calm that replaced the frenzy and frustration. The notion of no longer tolerating intolerable working conditions has become my personal mantra that I share with as many colleagues as will listen.  I have been searching for what would help me, and hopefully, others move through these difficult times, especially as school reopens.

My dear friend and colleague, Barbara Glickstein, shared the following Twitter thread with me by Dr. Emma Kavanaugh, a psychologist from the U.K. who wrote about “ugly coping,” a concept that was new to me. 

Ugly coping means whatever gets you through your day. It can be drastically lowering your expectations for yourself, your family, your house. It can be setting aside time in a day to have a good weep (ShowerCry™).
I can grasp the “ugly coping” concept and hope it helps the readers of this blog too. I am reprinting the full Twitter thread so you can see the suggestions from Dr. Emma Kavanagh. Best wishes for a safe, healthy, and more predictable school year. Remember to take care of yourself and implement the safeguards you need in your own health offices. Much is out of our control and that feels very concerning. Let’s stay connected! Please feel to share how you are coping, especially what it feels like to implement “ugly coping.” 

Here is the link to the original Tweet! Thank you  Barbara Glickstein for sharing this gem with me.

2 thoughts on “The Relentless School Nurse: Entering COVID School Nursing Year #4 – Let’s Try “Ugly Coping””

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Robin. Today I am not in my clinic, but sitting in Panera trying to rest. I have set boundaries and as of this week, I am working three days a week. I feel I should be there full time because it is best for the students, for the school, but some reflection told me it was not what was best for me. I’m worn out, burning the candle at both ends with two teenage boys and a full time job. I have the luxury of stepping back a little, and I realize that this is indeed a luxury. Not everyone can have this option, but I am thankful for it. I am slowing things down, letting things go and breathing. May every single school nurse out there have the opportunity to do the same, however that may look.

    1. Good to hear this Stephanie! Please keep me posted on how you are doing!

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