School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Are You Running Out of Steam?

It is barely one month into school and I have already run out of steam.  Does anyone else feel this way? I can’t blame it on my age, that would be too easy. What I do know is that there was hope for this year to be less hectic, less traumatic, and less fraught with barriers to health. So far that is not my experience. The frenetic energy of school has ratcheted up to a level that is even more chaotic than last year. 

My personal patterns of interrupted sleep, an overscheduled afterschool calendar, and a general malaise have me wondering if I have company in this feeling of running out of steam.  We are still dealing with a set of very extraordinary conditions. We have been operating at emergency levels trying to ‘keep calm and carry on’ for years on end, no wonder we are so weary and feeling at our wit’s end. 

Here are some suggestions that might help us regroup and regain equilibrium; at least I hope so:

  • Be realistic about what you can achieve during the school day.

  • Look at what’s on your plate, set your priorities, and stick to them. Focus on the urgent and important.

  • Don’t let other people’s lack of planning become your emergency.

  • I know it’s hard when demands surround us, setting true emergencies aside, try as hard as you can to stick to boundaries. 

  • Speaking of boundaries, set them and stick to them. It might feel hard to say no, but it’s essential to guard and manage your energy

  • Focus on what’s in front of you and try to concentrate on what’s in the moment. Equally, try to have something to look forward to, no matter how small. We are not machines!

  • Talk to people you trust about how you’re feeling – don’t judge yourself too harshly or compare yourself to what someone else thinks. Notice your self-talk, be gentle with yourself, we are all trying our best.

  • Take your lunch, I know there are lots of obstacles to doing so, but protect your breaks, it will help.

  • Consider setting a schedule at school, here is an example of a daily schedule that one of my colleagues created, and with buy-in from her building principal, so does the staff:

Here is a file for you to customize:

Daily Schedule Health Office Schedule for the School Nurse

I hope these ideas are helpful. I will be implementing them as well and will report back, and look forward to your feedback too.  Judy Doran, our school nurse leader from Maine shared this with me, a perfect update for this blog post. Thank you from one of the ME school nurses! This might be a good one to post on our computers, so we can remember!





2 thoughts on “The Relentless School Nurse: Are You Running Out of Steam?”

  1. Robin,
    It’s a though you’ve read my mind. I am exhausted and just knowing that others are feeling the same way is helpful. (Misery loves company!!!!) I’ve printed out your wonderful suggestions and posted them in front of my desk to review each day. I’ve also sent your suggestions to my staff at school. Thank you for taking the time to post on this wonderful blog. You may not hear from me often but know I look forward to your posts and appreciate all that you do for school nursing.
    Take care of yourself Robin,

    1. Thank you for your message! I love messages from my readers! It made my day.

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