So many behavioral things happen in our country that signal the start of the school year - commercials, news stories, advertisements. Perhaps your school starts at a different time or even continues year round. Still your life is somewhat impacted by the event we call “back to school”. For school staff, including school nurses, this is both a new beginning and a series of stress-filled, very long, work days. I now know that tasks required of the general population of public school nurses differ significantly from those of private school nurses. Thanks to my attendance at the Magnus Academy this summer, I met dozens of you, willing to share your stories with me. Thank you. I look forward to learning more from you about the unique issues you face in private schools and the creative solutions you’ve accomplished.
A few years into my practice as a school nurse, I asked a seasoned school nurse what I was doing wrong in September. She listened carefully and grinned wider, the longer I talked. “I just can’t seem to get organized,” I’d said, “and every day I feel as if I’ve taken ten steps backward instead of three forward. How can I make September go more smoothly for myself, my students and the staff?” I implored.
When she replied, it was with kindness and care in her voice. “September will never go well. You must start each day fresh, confident in your ability to prioritize, to organize and to move ahead. Make a plan and then deviate from it whenever you really need to. Reschedule what issues can wait. Never turn away a frightened child or a frantic parent. Never minimize a staff members concerns. Always remember your purpose, your value and your importance. Before you know it, the snow will fall and you’ll realize everything that needed to be done, was accomplished. And next fall it will start all over.”
From my own experiences, I’ve put together a small arsenal of strategies that helped me through September. I hope you can take some of these tips and they help you as you head back to school.