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6 Tips for the School Nurse to get the most out of SUMMER!

Next year…it seems silly to be thinking about next school year here at the end of this school year. We have 3 days until we…well…until we don’t have to show up to the schoolhouses each morning. On the flip side, we have 70 days until we certified staff start a brand-new school year. But who’s counting, right?

This article will be less focused on how to survive the end of the school year, but more focused on maintaining your awesomeness during the summer. Let’s see what kind of rabbit we “catch” down this school nurse’s rabbit trail…

My first year as a school nurse was pretty rough up ‘til around the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. Mainly because I was working as an on-call hospice nurse EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND and had pulled a solid 78-day stretch from day one to the first day off during the Thanksgiving break. But it wasn’t only that. It was the change. I hadn’t solidly sold myself on being a school nurse. By the end of the year, I figured out that being a school nurse was a pretty cool gig despite a solid year of ill and injured children, vision screenings, puberty talks, mad mammas, head lice, immunizations, and “other issues.” I knew that once I started my summer break, that life would start to really get hard. In all of my nursing career, I had never had so much scheduled free time; I had never even taken off a full two weeks during the previous 17 years when we weren’t relocating cross-country (that’s a whole ‘nother story).

The school year’s schedule gives me a system. And, that system works for me during the school year, but it didn’t work so well during the summer months. I had to prepare myself. The one question I now ask myself during the last week of school is this, “What thing (or things) in my life that I have worked hard to maintain will be in jeopardy once the scheduled school year turns into the freedoms of the summer?” My answer is usually: “My weight!”

When I worked hospice, I’d get up each morning and ride my stationary bicycle, go to work, eat at scheduled times, go to the gym in the early afternoon, and then finish my day on the far west side of the valley. As a school nurse, everything was the same except I’d just go to the gym after school. But then the summer came. I remember on that last day when the principal came by and said, “Nurse Kevin! What are you still doing here? Go home!” Everyone else had gone to after-school / end-of-the-year get-togethers (I couldn’t go…that weekend on-call gig got in the way…). It was then that I knew, come Monday morning, there was no reason to get up so early and ride, nor was there an after-school gym session to be done. There was no one holding me accountable for my day and the tasks that needed to…rather…should be done. It was all on me.

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