8 Strategies for Less Stress as a School Nurse

by Howard Gerber on November 9, 2017

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school nurse stress managementNursing can be a stressful job at times. If you work as a school nurse, there are also added challenges. In a hospital setting, nurses have the support of other medical staff. In a school, nurses usually are the only medical professionals onsite, which means they have to work well independently.

Fortunately, there are several things a school nurse can do to ease stress including the following:

Stay organized.

Although you cannot schedule emergencies, you can plan and be well-prepared. Nurses may respond to medical problems, such as allergies, asthma attacks, and diabetic emergencies. Having an action plan for students who have chronic diseases can help. An action plan provides instructions on how to deal with a student’s complex medical needs. School nurses should also have an up-to-date health file on each student with a health history and emergency contact information. Being well organized will help make emergency situations less stressful.

Rely on staff.

Although you may be the only nurse onsite, you are not alone. Rely on teachers and aides to assist with students as appropriate. Although you must protect a student’s privacy, letting a teacher know a student has a significant medical problem can be useful. When a teacher knows a student has a certain medical problem, they may recognize signs of a problem early before the situation gets worse.

Utilize resources.

School nurses don’t only deal with medical problems. They may also work with students who have substance abuse problems or mental health issues. Utilize the resources your school has when appropriate. Schools often have social workers and counselors on staff. School counselors can also ease the burden.

Trust your training.

During nursing school, you may have completed rotations in labor and delivery, pediatrics, and the intensive care unit. Working as a school nurse is different than working in the hospital, but you still use many of the same skills. As a school nurse, rely on your assessment skills, time management, and interpersonal skills.

Stay up to date.

Medicine is always evolving. Reading journals and completing continuing educations classes helps you stay current on the newest treatments and recommendations regarding a variety of medical conditions.

Learn to let things go.

Being compassionate and empathetic often comes easily to nurses. It can be emotionally difficult to deal with some of the situations you may have, such as a student’s abuse, addiction, or even death. But you have to find ways to let the stress go.

Maintain a good life/work balance.

Work is an important part of your life, but it’s essential not to let it become your entire life. Find a way to maintain a balance between your job and home life. Make time for friends, family, and hobbies. Maintaining balance helps you keep things in perspective, which may decrease stress.

Practice good health habits.

It’s impossible to alleviate all stress, but practicing good health habits can help you cope better. Exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating well helps you recharge. When you’re feeling healthy, you are better prepared to deal with stress.

Hopefully, with the tips above, you can decrease your stress on and off the job. Which stress reduction techniques have worked for you?

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