I can't call myself the school nurse because I'm not a trained nurse. However, I am trained in CPR/First Aid and school district policies regarding all matters of health. In our district, every three or four schools are overseen by an RN and each school's health room is monitored by a health room assistant. This is what I did this past week as a substitute staffer for my kids' school district.
Friends are surprised that I like this job so much because I'm known to be a bit of a germ-a-phobe. There is hand sanitizer in every bag I own, as well as in the glove compartment of the Babemobile. Also, I don't enjoy being around sick people too much.
This is what I have learned: The health room is probably the cleanest place in the school. Sick kids are in there for a short period and don't get the opportunity to wander around and touch the keyboards or pens. You are never more than 10 feet away from a sink and soap. There are boxes and boxes of disposable gloves as well as rubbing alcohol. It's a dreamland for moi.
When a kid wanders into the health room and you offer ice for a bump, bandage for a cut, a cleanly lined tub for vomit, crackers for empty tummies or just a sympathetic ear, you are suddenly that nice lady who is much nicer than that monster who yells at you during recess after you try to throw a rock at a passing car. Sick kids are much more pleasant than sick adults in the sense that they don't whine about all the work they're missing or insist that they have a hereditary condition and will probably die soon.
I feel very responsible in the health room. There are thick folders of all the students' health histories as well as records of which kids get which meds, all of which are neatly stored and labeled in a locked cabinet, for which I get to hold the key. It's very humbling to realize that when there is a medical emergency, I will have to remember everything I've been taught and remember where everything I need is located. It forces me to stay alert. I've had a few scares already at school and I'm glad I knew where everything was.
And the forms! I love clearly defined procedures that are accompanied by neatly printed forms. Bump your nose with a ball? There are two forms to fill out as well as a call home to let parents know that their students will come home with a form. Fall off the bars and hit your head? Ditto.
I am going to try to get as many health room substitute jobs as I can in the hopes that a permanent position will open in the near future. For anal-retentive (or as I prefer to call it, "detail-oriented") person who is not squeamish and enjoys children on a short-term basis, it's an amazing job.