I work at a school for students with special needs. The needs vary with each student. Most of the students I see are medically fragile. They have gastrostomy tubes ( that’s how they get their nutrition), seizure disorders, in wheelchairs, and have multiple physical and developmental disorders and they require nursing care. And I give such care with joy. Yes, joy. It’s my pleasure to be trusted with the care of these students. Yesterday one of the students I care for who is non verbal and multiply disabled smiled at me. It was amazing. I’ve been taking care of this student since I began working here over two years ago. He always turns his head to me when I come in to hook up his gastrostomy feed and I always say hello to him by name or “hey buddy.” His mom recently thanked me for taking “good care” of her son. It meant so much and I really appreciated her words.

Then today happens… administration every so often allows parents to attend school safety meetings. We usually discuss school policies or fire drill procedures, who responds to what and where. Today the meeting leader discussed calling 911 in the event of a student having a seizure. Now you have to understand we have students who have short seizures every day. Is it pleasant? No. Is it scary? Sometimes. Do we have rules to follow? Absolutely. And no one argues with the rules. However along with the rules comes the judgment of the nurse who is caring for that student. The nurse is the one who determines when to call 911. So while during the safety meeting there was a discussion of a hypothetical situation of a student having a seizure, that anyone has the ability to call 911 just hand the phone over the nurse. As a rule we call 911 if a student is seizing for five minutes. This is for any student who has a known seizure disorder. The meeting leader mentioned that some students could be seizing off and on for longer than five minutes. That they recover from one seizure, are conscious and then go into another seizure. This can go on for over 5 minutes. One parent who attended the safety meeting pointed her finger at me (the only nurse attending the meeting) and declared loudly that if her child had a seizure at school she had BETTER be called right away, even before we called 911. She was so nasty, her words and attitude were totally unnecessary. I sat there in disbelief as to why this person would feel the need to be so rude and attack someone who comes in contact with her child. Turns out I was told she came into the meeting with a chip on her shoulder, wanting to stir things up. I don’t take what she said personally, I could have been any nurse sitting there.

I am the mother of a special needs child. I get it. I do. I’ve lost my shit on plenty of people who would not see the light. IEP meetings, advocating for my son to be treated appropriately by know-nothing doctors. But school? Nope. Never once had I ever talked down to anyone that came in contact with my son at school. His PT/OT and speech staff were amazing people who only wanted the best for my son. Wanted him to reach the goals they set for him. The nurses who worked at every school he attended whether it be a regular day program or residential school were nothing but caring and professional and I treated them as such. This woman and her crappy attitude really irks me.

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