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If you work as a school-based occupational therapist, you are probably no stranger to writing reports. One of the most important reports you create is the student’s individualized educational program (IEP). The IEP goals guide the school-based team and are critical to the work you do with your students. Good goal writing helps you stay focused and may help your students reach their potential.

When creating IEP goals for students, one recommendation is to use the SMART acronym. This is a great way to ensure that you are meeting all of foundations of creating a measurable goal that is centered around achievable and realistic actions. By providing these specific goals, both school-based team members as well as the student’s parents can be on the same page with clear, concise goals. 

Think SMART

Using the acronym SMART, helps you structure your goals in an actionable and measurable way. It also provides a foundation to keep goal writing consistent between students. When writing a SMART goal consider the following:

Specific:

When developing a goal for students, details matter. Vague or general terms in a goal plan are more difficult to measure. Consider including the specific subject or skill you are targeting, such as improving the total number of words written in an English assignment or reading a specific number of words per minute.

Measurable:

Measurable goals help determine if the student is progressing. Determining progress allows the school-based team to reassess the plan and change strategies if needed. Although there are various ways to measure progress, assessments, standardized tests, and observation in the classroom are some options.

Attainable:

Goals in a student’s IEP should be attainable. You don’t want to underestimate the child’s potential. You also don’t want to write a goal that is so difficult to achieve it is unrealistic. It is often motivating for students and their parents to see the child reach their goals. If you write an unrealistic goal, it can decrease confidence and motivation.

Relevant:

The goal should be something that is relevant to the student’s educational experience. That doesn’t mean every goal has to be a measurement of academics. Improving mobility, attention span, and social skills all play a role in a child’s school experience.

 Time:

Set a timeframe for the goals you write. Goals will often be something that the student can achieve at the end of the school year. It’s also helpful to set some goals that have a shorter timeframe, such as the end of a semester or trimester. Achieving short-term goals can boost self-confidence and encourage students to work harder.

Report writing may never be your favorite part of the job as a school-based occupational therapist. But by using the acronym above, you can write SMART goals that help your students succeed.

Before Goal Setting

Before writing the goals for a student’s IEP, consider a few important factors. Having an idea of a child’s baseline is essential. If you don’t have a good understanding of how the child is performing academically, socially, and physically, you won’t be able to measure progress.

Consider the parent’s concerns for their child’s academic performance. Talk with parents to get their feedback. Parents often know their child best and can be a good asset.

It’s also helpful to review the goals for each student you are working with in-between IEP meetings. You may want to adjust your therapy techniques or strategies depending on the progress the student is making.

Importance of Goals of the Occupational Therapy Fieldwork

Setting goals for students is essential for Occupational Therapists. IEPs are developed in order to create a measurable goal(s) in order to meet the specific needs of each individual student in order to progress and succeed in school. When it comes time to measure the progress of a student, Occupational Therapists are able to determine how to adjust their plan accordingly. If the student has reached the pre-determined goals, their OT is able to create a new set of goals. If the student hasn’t reached their goals yet, their OT is able to adjust the current plan in order to meet the needs of the student.

Aside from determining how to adjust their approach, OTs are also able to communicate the progress with the rest of their team as well as the student’s parents in a clear and concise manner. By creating and implementing IEP goals, students benefit by receiving an individual plan that is focused on how to best help them achieve goals. This results in building skills, improving self-esteem and finding success in school.

Utilizing a school based occupational therapy goal bank is a beneficial resource, as it provides guidance and suggestions for OTs that are creating student’s IEP goals. These are not designed to serve as inclusive options, but rather suggestions in order to assist OTs when creating plans that align with an individual students’ IEP goals.

School Based Occupational Therapy Goal Examples and Objectives 

Below are a few examples of school based occupational therapy goals as well as their corresponding objectives:

  1. Goal: By July 2020, during speaking and listening tasks the student will independently be able to open and close containers that hold art supplies. They will be able to open and close art supply containers 9 out of 10 trials in order to draw and/or visually display their knowledge and/or ideas.  
    Reflection: This example reflects the SMART acronym by defining a timeframe for the specific goal to be achieved. The goal is within  attainable reason. Lastly, there is a benchmark measurement in order for the progress of the goal to be measured. 
  2. Goal: By July 2020, student will be shown 10 various safety signs including: Do Not Enter, Don’t Walk, No Swimming, Wrong Way, Stop, Danger, Slow, Walk, Bus Stop, Mens, Womens of which the student will be able to understand the meaning by pointing to the corresponding picture, throughout 8 out of 10 trials.
    Reflection: This example also reflects the SMART acronym by setting an attainable goal for the student over a specified length of time. The number of trails defines a measurable goal for the student as well. 
  3. Goal: By July 2020, student will match up lowercase to uppercase letters by drawing a corresponding line to each. The student will successfully complete this activity 8 out of 10 times. 
    Reflection: This is another goal that reflects the SMART acronym. It’s important to take into considering the student’s education level in order to successfully identify a relevant goal. 
  4. Goal: By July 2020, student will be given a piece of paper along with a crayon. They will independently hold the crayon and scribble up to 15 seconds. The student will successfully complete this goal 9 out of 10 times. 
    Reflection: This goal takes specific time, measurability, relevancy and attainability into consideration. Goals can and should be adjusted according to each specific student. 
  5. Goal: Student will be given a toy as well as an action. They will be able to successfully demonstrate the action through the use of the toy. Student will successfully complete this goal 9 out of 10 times.
    Reflection: Not only does this goal reflect the SMART acronym but also provides an intriguing and playful way for the student to engage with the activity.  

Looking for a career in Occupational Therapy? Search through Sunbelt Staffing’s job openings here!

The post School Occupational Therapy Goals to Consider appeared first on Sunbelt Staffing.

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Working as a school nurse often means you are the only medical professional onsite. School nurses should be comfortable working independently and trusting their own judgment. Even if you are used to working alone, it’s nice to have resources that provide information and support. Nurses are the heart of healthcare and providing free resources in order for them to continue to thrive in their career is essential. Self-learning is beneficial to career development, as it is motivated based on one’s desire to learn more about a specific area and presents the opportunity for one to learn at their own pace. By pursuing additional resources, nurses are able to discover an abundance of information including how to handle unexpected situation. Several resources may be beneficial for school nurses including those listed below.

1. The American School Health Association

The American School Health Association has information on a variety of health topics, such as food allergies, concussions, and nutrition. The association also provides school toolkits on preventing adolescent drug use and school safety tips. They also offer a school health conference once a year and several webinars. Joining the association provides additional benefits, such as access to the Journal of School Health and the bi-weekly newsletter.

2. Joslin Diabetes Center

Unfortunately, diabetes continues to be a concern for children and adolescents. The Joslin Diabetes Center provides information on insulin pumps, medication, and meal plans. There are also links to pharmaceutical and medical supply companies that have diabetic supplies.

Our Rating for This Resource: 8/10

3. The National Association of School Nurses

If you work as a school nurse, the National Association of School Nurses is a top-notch resource. The association offers a wealth of information on all different topics, such as asthma, diabetes, and sexually transmitted diseases. Opportunities for continuing education classes, as well as conferences, are also available. The association also publishes the Journal of School Nursing, which provides a variety of articles on medical topics of interest to school nurses, such as opioid addiction, bullying, and childhood obesity.

Membership is open to all school nurses. Membership benefits include access to the forum and discounts on professional liability insurance and conferences.

Our Rating for This Resource: 7/10

4. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration

A variety of information is available that may be helpful for school nurses. Education and publications, such as substance abuse prevention, underage drinking, and campus health may be of interest to school nurses. The administration also offers a toolkit for high schools on suicide prevention. Webinars are also available, such as training for school staff on suicide prevention.

Our Rating for This Resource: 8/10

5. School Health Assistants

School health assistants can be great support for nurses. If you work at a school that employs school health assistants, be sure to utilize them appropriately. Discuss job limitations and scope of practice to ensure you assign tasks health assistants can complete. Assigning tasks and activities to health assistants allows you to focus on other responsibilities.

6. State School Nursing Associations

Many states have a school nurse state association. State associations often offer conferences, education material on various medical topics, and opportunities for continuing education classes. State school nurse associations are also a great resource to find out what topics are especially important in the community you live and work.

Our Rating for This Resource: 8/10

In any profession, it’s important to remain aware and educated about your industry as changes are implemented. This especially applies for nurses which is why providing free resources is so important. Hopefully, the above resources provide information to help you serve your students and their families better. What resources have you found the most helpful as a school nurse? Please share with us in the comments section below, then check out our latest openings in schools across the country here to take the next step in your career.

If you liked this article, you’ll love our hub of healthcare blogs that will be well worth your time. Check out our other blogs today!

The post Top 6 Free Resources for School Nurses appeared first on Sunbelt Staffing.

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For students considering a career as an occupational therapist, shadowing is one of the best ways to get an idea of what an OT does. Occupational Therapists focus is on developing fine motor skills, visual-perception skills, cognitive skills and sensory-processing deficits. They help patients to fully engage with daily activities such as eating and driving. Along with shadowing in settings, such as a hospital or clinic, it’s also beneficial to see OTs at work in other areas. Shadowing a school-based occupational therapist is one option to consider. By doing so, participants are not only able to understand the functions of an OT but can experience how the job is performed.  

Occupational Therapy Shadowing Opportunities

There are several types of Occupational Therapy to consider. Some examples include neurology, geriatrics, and pediatrics. Even if you have a good idea of what an occupational therapist does, clinical practice can look different in different settings. Here are a few options to consider when shadowing an OT:

Schools

Observing a school-based OT provides you with insight on how best practices and treatment approaches may vary. Working one on one with students over the school year is different than treating patients briefly in an acute care hospital. Seeing firsthand what a therapist does day to day may help you decide which setting or specialty feels right for you. There are several Occupational Therapy shadowing opportunities and we’ve provided a few examples of them below.

Hospitals

Hospital OTs typically work closely with a health-care team in order to determine the best treatment plan option for their patients. Together, they are able to determine the specific needs, abilities and environment in which the patient needs to function. Hospital OTs play a crucial role in the rehabilitation process for the patient which ultimately leads to a lesser likelihood of hospital readmission.

Nursing Homes

As in any setting, OTs in a Nursing Home environment consider a specific approach for each individual patient. There are a variety of needs when it comes to Nursing Home residents/patients. Things that an OT may consider in this setting include the duration of stay, daily activities/engagements, age of patient and illnesses.

Home Health

Occupational Therapists that specialize in home health focus on offering strategies to their patients to manage their daily activities while minimizing risk of injury or further decline. Their ultimate goal is to improve their patient’s efficiency and maximize positive outcomes for them. OTs achieve these goals by visiting their patients in their home environment.

How to Find Job Shadowing Opportunities

Some colleges and high schools may help their student arrange job shadowing. If you are in high school, check with your school guidance counselor. For those already in college, talk with an advisor or your career placement center.

You can also try to find a job shadowing OT experience on your own. Once you identify a school where you would like to do your job shadowing, call the office. Introduce yourself and explain your goals for observation. The school will likely point you in the right direction. You may have to write a letter or talk with an administrator or the therapist directly.

Job Shadowing Tips

Although you are only an “observer” it is still important to be courteous and respectful by doing the following:

Be professional: Treat your shadowing experience as a real job. That means you should always arrive on time, dress professionally, and respect client privacy. Don’t talk about the students you observe to your family, friends, or classmates. Be prepared for your shadowing day by bringing necessary tools such as:

  • Notebook
  • Reference Letter

Offer to help: Depending on how long your shadowing job is, you may have opportunities to help out. You can offer to organize supplies, make copies, or clean equipment. Going the extra mile to help out, makes a good impression.

Ask questions: Although you should avoid interrupting a therapy session, you can ask questions when it is over. After all, you are job shadowing to learn more about the profession. Here are some examples of questions to ask:

  • What do you like the most about your job?
  • What do you find to be challenging about your job?
  • What does a typical day for you look like?
  • What type of advancement opportunity does this field offer?
  • How has this field changed and developed over time in terms of technological advancement? What future changes/developments do you anticipate for this field?
  • Is there anything that you wish you had done differently to prepare for a career in this field? If so, what would that/those be?
  • What is something that most people don’t know about this field?
  • What is one thing that you wish you had known about this field before entering into it?

Express thanks: Remember your manners and be sure to thank the therapist that you are shadowing at the end of the day. Also, when your shadowing job is over, send a brief thank you note to the therapist and school for allowing you to observe. Here are some points to include in your thank you note:

  • Acknowledge & thank your contact for taking the time to allowing you to participate in the job shadowing opportunity
  • Include something specific that you enjoyed about the job shadowing experience 

Keep track of your hours: Write down all the hours you spend shadowing an occupational therapist is a school-setting or anywhere else you observe an OT. The school may have a log sheet. If not, make your own. If you decide to apply to OT school, you may need to have a certain number of observation hours completed.

Job shadowing is one way to learn more about what an OT does. Are you already a healthcare professional and interested in browsing for jobs? Check them out today and land your next gig!

The post A Full Guide to Occupational Therapy Shadowing appeared first on Sunbelt Staffing.

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Sunbelt Staffing by Howard Gerber - 3w ago

Nurses are often so dedicated to their jobs they work right through lunch breaks and night shift snack breaks. (1) Breaks are a necessary part of protecting against burnout, and equally important, making sure a nurse gets adequate nutrition while on the job. Busy nurses need easy lunch and snack ideas to make break taking as easy as possible. Here are some easy tips to make meal breaks a no brainer:

1. Consider Your Schedule

A nurse’s schedule can be demanding, and a tired nurse isn’t going to want to put in a lot of meal prep time when it comes to preparing meals to take on break. The busiest days call for a simple dish that you can make and eat on the go. Don’t get bogged down in complex recipes, go for meals you can prepare in big batches at once and then pop into Tupperware for the week ahead.

Here are some recipes for busy nurses that make meal planning simple:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/6403624447936197/?lp=true (2)

https://thenerdynurse.com/20-quick-and-easy-packable-lunches-for-nurses/ (3)

2. Plan Ahead

Meal planning for nurses doesn’t have to be a complicated process if you plan ahead. At the beginning of the week, make time to sit down and plan out your meals for the remainder of the week. Think about the kinds of foods that make you feel good when you eat them for lunch, and especially those that are simple and straightforward to make. Consider whether you have access to a refrigerator or microwave when you put your meals together.

A few lunch planning apps that you might find useful for meal planning:

Food Planner: This app lets you import recipes from websites and blogs to customize your perfect meal plans, grocery lists and inventory lists. (4)

Mealplan+: This app allows you to drag and drop meal tags into a weekly schedule to create your own meal plans, and email them to others. (5)

Mealboard: This customizable app brings together recipe management, meal planning, groceries and pantry management in one app. (6)

3. Buy Groceries in Bulk and Utilize the Freezer

Having to shop more than once a week can add unnecessary stress to an already busy schedule. When it comes to making meal prep simple, buying in bulk is the way to go. You can then save what you aren’t ready to use in the freezer.

Some things to buy in bulk that are also easy to make in big batches are: (7)

Grains. From rice to quinoa to pastas, grains keep well for long periods of time and are great for tossing in a crockpot or pressure cooker to make a week’s worth of hearty, ready to grab meals.

Frozen veggies. While fresh is best, you don’t always have time to keep fresh produce on hand. Veggies mix nicely into grains, too. Broccoli, peas, carrots, corn off the cob, spinach and so much more thaw up nicely for quick meal prep.

Frozen proteins. Fish, chicken and even beef all keep for a good long time in the freezer if well-wrapped. Thaw out enough protein for an entire week, toss it into a crockpot with some grains and veggies and the seasonings of your choice, and then parcel the meals into individual Tupperware containers for a week’s worth of ready to go meals.

Even better, you can freeze any meals you don’t plan to eat that week for later on. These back-up meals can then be popped into a microwave when you get off a nursing shift for meals at home that are just as convenient as those you eat at work.

4. Food Storage Containers

Every nurse needs a good lunch box or bag to make lunch prep a breeze. Lunch boxes, bags and thermoses come in a variety of shapes and colors depending on your needs, and are easy to wipe down and clean.(8) Many reusable plastic containers are even dishwasher safe, so you don’t have to think twice about cleanup.

For meal prep storage, consider several options. The simplest way to go is freezer bags, great for storing leftovers, loose food like grains or fruits, easy to mark with a sharpie for identification later. These, however, don’t keep food for as long as containers do.

Consider reusable, stackable storage containers that you can neatly organize in your refrigerator and freezer for ease and less clutter. (9)

For the more sustainably minded, glass meal prep containers contain no plastic (unless you use a lid) and stack neatly in your refrigerator. Pyrex bakeware containers can go straight from the oven into the refrigerator. (10)

5. Use Pinterest and Google

Nurses may be better at finding a vein than a new food idea, but interesting new recipes are at your fingertips with a little searching on Pinterest and Google. You can even customize your searches for types of foods, including vegetarian, vegan or gluten free options.

Some sample meal plans:

https://easyfamilyrecipes.com/weekly-meal-plan/(11)

http://www.foodnetwork.ca/everyday-cooking/blog/weekly-meal-plan-ideas/(12)

https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/quick-cook-easy-meal-plan/(13)

SOURCES

1. https://www.nursingworld.org/~495c56/globalassets/practiceandpolicy/healthy-nurse-healthy-nation/ana-healthriskappraisalsummary_2013-2016.pdf

2. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/6403624447936197/?lp=true

3. https://thenerdynurse.com/20-quick-and-easy-packable-lunches-for-nurses/

4. http://www.foodplannerapp.com

5. http://www.falldaysoftware.com/mealplan

6. http://www.mealboard.com

7. https://www.cookinglight.com/healthy-living/cooking-light-diet/best-costco-meal-prep-items-grocery-list

8. https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/the-best-adult-lunch-boxes-bowls-and-bento-sets-article

9. https://www.thespruceeats.com/best-food-storage-container-sets-4097148

10. https://www.reviewgeek.com/11411/15-meal-prep-sunday-products-you-need-for-easy-bulk-cooking/

11. https://easyfamilyrecipes.com/weekly-meal-plan/(11)

12. http://www.foodnetwork.ca/everyday-cooking/blog/weekly-meal-plan-ideas/(12)

13. https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/quick-cook-easy-meal-plan/(13)

Join the Sunbelt team and begin exploring a new and exciting nursing job today. Visit our job listings to apply today

The post Meal Prep Ideas for Nurses appeared first on Sunbelt Staffing.

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Today’s children are more frequently diagnosed with anxiety than in the past, and are more likely to experience bullying in school. Problems like these can have negative effects on children’s mental health as well as their academic performance—and as a result, school support personnel such as school psychologists and school counselors are increasingly important for school-aged children, as well as parents, teachers and others who work with kids.

Both school psychologists and school counselors both play critical roles in the lives of students. While their roles are frequently confused, these professions are distinctly different.

What Does a School Psychologist Do?

A school psychologist is usually more focused on providing mental health services for students, while school counselors are more focused on aiding academic achievement. School psychologists’ duties include administering and scoring tests and screenings, developing outreach and crisis intervention programs, and serving as an advocate for children.

School psychologists also play important roles in helping with students’ parents and families, helping them identify learning difficulties or disabilities, and coaching them on how to work with such difficulties or with emotional problems. When students have family problems that are affecting their school performance, a school psychologist can provide counseling, refer the family to a counselor, provide coaching for parents or point them to a support group that might be helpful.

What Does a School Counselor Do?

School counselors, also known as guidance counselors, help students in the areas of academic achievement, personal and social development and career development. Counselors do this by teaching structured lessons that meet students’ developmental needs, on topics such as interpersonal relationships, study skills, time management and behaviors that promote learning and achievement.

In addition to teaching classes, school counselors also assist students with developing future goals and plans and scheduling upcoming coursework to meet those goals. When students have immediate needs or concerns, school counselors can also provide counseling, crisis response and referrals to others who may be able to help.

Education Requirements

The educational requirements for school psychologists and school counselors are similar but require degrees in their distinct fields. School counselor requirements include a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling, along with a certification from the state in which they work. To become certified, a person must complete a graduate supervised internship in a school, under the direction of a certified or licensed school counselor.

School psychologist requirements include a bachelor’s degree, frequently in psychology or education, as well as at least 60 semester hours in a graduate program for school psychology. To earn certification through the National Association of School Psychologists, a person must complete an internship of at least 1,200 hours that provides work experience in an academic setting such as a school or university.

Job Outlook

The future looks bright for both school counselors and school psychologists. Employment of school and career counselors is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Services (BLS). As school enrollment is expected to increase, the need for school counselors will also continue to grow.

In addition, as the traditional route of going straight from high school into college becomes increasingly expensive and more families are questioning its value, the school counselor job outlook will likely expand. There will be a greater need for school counselors to provide information about other pathways to viable careers, such as educating students and families about career technical training and providing opportunities for students to interact with employers interested in hiring non-degreed individuals.

Similarly, employment of school psychologists (as well as clinical and counseling psychologists) is projected to grow 14 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, according to BLS figures. As the school psychologist job outlook continues to expand, it has become an increasingly attractive position for people who have psychology degrees. You can become a school counselor or school psychologist if you have a psychology degree; you just need to pursue graduate work in one of the two specific fields. It’s a great way to make a difference in the lives of children and adolescents every day.

Want to see the opportunities for yourself? Take a look at job listings for school psychologists.

The post School Psychologist vs. School Counselor appeared first on Sunbelt Staffing.

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The Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce recently announced the 2019 Business of the Year award recipients at the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce Awards and Installation Banquet on May 31, 2019. Sunbelt Staffing was named the 2019 Large Business of the Year. Ken Kistner, Division Director, accepted the plaque on behalf of the entire Sunbelt Staffing team at the awards ceremony. This is the second time that Sunbelt Staffing has received this award.

“To receive the honor from the Chamber of Commerce of being named the 2019 Large Business of the Year is a testament not of the success of the business, but of our fantastic colleagues who live, work, raise their families, and volunteer in this community,”  said Howard Gerber, Managing Director of Sunbelt Staffing.“It is extra special for us to be recognized this year as it is our 30th Anniversary year. We look forward to being part of this community for many more years to come.”

Read Sunbelt Staffing’s official news release here.

For more information about the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, visit: http://www.utbchamber.com.

 

The post Sunbelt Staffing Named 2019 Large Business of the Year appeared first on Sunbelt Staffing.

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School-based Speech Therapists, occupational therapists, and other healthcare professionals may take classes, accept private clients, or simply rest and recharge during summer break. Before the bell rings this fall, set aside a few of those summer hours to reorganize your teaching space.

Speech language pathologists, school psychologists and others in school-based healthcare have to take on more students and responsibilities than ever. To make the most of the time you have, organization is key. When you can find what you need quickly, you’ll have more time for what matters—your students. Even better, studies have shown that an organized, clutter-free environment reduces stress and lowers your risk of depression.

Ready to “Marie Kondo” your teaching space? Here are 6 teaching organization hacks to set the stage for a more productive school year.

  1. Declutter.

Marie Kondo, the queen of organization, advises her clients, readers, and Netflix viewers to let go of objects—whether it’s clothes or paper—that don’t “spark joy.” Once you clear your space of the things you no longer need, you can start organizing what’s left.

Apply this tip to your teaching space by going through all your papers, books, and supplies. If it has served its purpose and you don’t need it anymore, recycle, donate, or discard. However, f you still use the material, set it aside for later organizing.

Do you share an office with other teachers? Your coworkers will appreciate the refreshing change. They may even follow your lead!

  1. Organize digital files. 

You may have dozens of YouTube videos, pdfs, links, and other digital resources you use in school therapy. Make sure they’re easy to access so you’re not frantically searching your InBox during a session. A few ideas include:

  • Create YouTube playlists for different types of videos.
  • Organize links into folders in your browser’s bookmarks menu.
  • Save pdfs and Word docs in separate, clearly named folders on your hard drive or in the cloud, depending on your school requirements. Google Drive is a convenient way to access all your documents no matter where you work.
  1. Keep paper forms in one place. 

Don’t waste time finding and printing forms and other documents for new families. Print at least 10 copies of your most-used forms and organize them in file folders. Store those folders in a binder, holder, or portable file box.

Create separate folders for homework assignments, exercises, therapy resources, and other papers you regularly give your students. Keep these in a separate binder or box. Depending on your profession, you may organize documents by physical condition—ankle-strengthening exercises for physical therapy for example—by sound, or by skill.

Follow the same process for books, manuals, and magazines. You can find cardboard magazine files at most office supply stores. Label and decorate them to make your resources stand out!

  1. Get a handle on supplies. 

Small supplies, such as game pieces, pens, colored pencils, and cards have a way of disappearing. Speech language pathologist Natalie Snyder converted a simple plastic toolbox drawer unit into a stimulus card holder to organize her cards. Label each drawer according to therapy target.

Clear plastic bags and pencil cases work well for keeping loose game pieces, markers, and other small things together and easily visible. Other storage ideas include mason jars, French fry containers, and shoe organizers…all decorated in fun colors of course!

  1. Prep your materials. 

Follow this time management best practice: set aside time each week to prepare your materials for the days to come. By making lesson plans, writing out your to-do list, and setting side materials in advance, you’ll be ready to go during the school week.

Whether it’s an hour or less on Sunday evening, Monday morning, or end-of-day Friday, mark this planning time in your calendar so it gets done. Otherwise, the crisis of the day can easily take over.

  1. Manage your calendar. 

Your school days might be filled with student and parent meetings, and sessions, leaving you very little time for organization and administrative tasks. To manage appointments and tasks without double-booking yourself, log everything into a calendar.

Whether you use Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook, or a desk planner, record it all in that one place. If you have a consistent available spot each week, block time for answering emails and returning phone calls. Block additional time for planning (see #5 above) and administrative tasks.

Online calendars will give you desktop reminders of upcoming appointments so you won’t get distracted and miss an important meeting. They’ll also let you add tasks, so you can remember to follow up with a parent, check with school administration about an issue, or wish a coworker Happy Birthday.

School-based healthcare professionals have growing lists of responsibilities without any more time in the day. By keeping supplies and documents in easy-to-find places, and with a little advance preparation, you can turbo-charge your productivity and enjoy a more stress-free school environment.

Do you plan to start the school year in a new position? Check out our exciting opportunities.

The post How to Organize Your Teaching Space to Optimize Productivity appeared first on Sunbelt Staffing.

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Fifty years ago, U.S. public schools were not legally required to educate students with disabilities. While some schools of education had already been training teachers to work in the field of special education, many children with disabilities did not attend public schools at all until schools were mandated to serve them with the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) in 1975.

Until that time, parents of children with disabilities had to teach their children at home or pay for private education. And the advocacy of those parents eventually led to changes—but the progress was slow. Some parents of children with special needs were forming advocacy groups in the early 1900s. And in 1961, President John F. Kennedy formed the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation, which recommended providing federal aid to states to educate children with disabilities. That move paved the way for the passage of EHA.

Special Education Federal Laws

With the EHA’s passage in 1975, children with disabilities were provided with specific legal rights to a public education. The law required that students with disabilities should be placed in a school environment that provided equal access to education. With parent advocacy and the new law, children with milder disabilities were increasingly mainstreamed, or placed in regular classrooms, during the 1970s and 1980s.

Fifteen years after the passage of the EHA, the law was reformed as the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). The new law focused on parents’ rights to be involved in education decisions affecting their children and required that each child with disabilities have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which must be developed with parental approval to meet the child’s individual needs.

In 1997, the U.S. Congress reauthorized IDEA with a new emphasis on academic outcomes. This change raised expectations for students and required schools to support students with disabilities in following the general curriculum when possible and support their parents. It also led to a new focus on planning for school-to-work transitions for students with disabilities.

Gradually, special education has focused more on inclusive education and combining students with and without special needs when possible. In 2004, Congress reauthorized IDEA again with instructions that students with disabilities should have “access to the general education curriculum in the regular classroom, to the maximum extent possible.”

Special Education Laws Timeline

1975

EHA gave children with disabilities the legal right to an education.

1990

EHA was reformulated as IDEA, requiring every child with a disability to have an IEP. The same year, the ADA passed, ensuring equal treatment and equal access to people with disabilities in employment and public accommodations.

1997

IDEA was reauthorized, emphasizing academic outcomes for students with disabilities.

2004

IDEA was again reauthorized, with emphasis on mainstreaming when possible and on early interventions.

Types of Special Education

Students with special needs can learn in a variety of different ways. In the early days of special education, many students with disabilities were taught in residential settings and specialty schools, such as a school for the blind. Over the years, students with disabilities have been increasingly mainstreamed into general education classrooms. Here’s a look at the most common types of special education.

Push-in services are offered when a student with disabilities is in a mainstream classroom. An occupational therapist or other specialist comes into the room to provide extra help.

Pull-out services are provided when a student with disabilities spend most of their time in a regular classroom but may be pulled out for extra help or therapy.

Inclusive classrooms include a mix of children with varying abilities, and often more than one teacher so that those who need extra help can get it.

Exclusive education allows students with similar educational needs to share one classroom and a lower student-to-teacher ratio.

Specialty schools offer focused places where students with severe challenges or physical disabilities, such as deafness or blindness, can learn together. They usually receive occupational, speech and other therapies.

Residential programs, best for students who need 24/7 care, were more common before the passage of EHA. These programs continue to be a good option for students who have severe medical needs that can’t be managed at home or in school.

Technology in Special Education

Innovative technologies have transformed almost every professional field in recent years, and that includes special education. Assistive technology devices make it easier for students with disabilities to learn more effectively. Thirty years ago, volunteers would read books aloud and record their voices on cassette tapes to make the texts accessible for students with visual impairments. Today, a wide variety of audiobooks, software programs and hearing, speaking and listening devices are available to simplify learning for students with all types of disabilities.

As our world continues to become more inclusive, trends in educating children with disabilities reflects that. You can help make history by joining the field of special education and watching the progress of children with disabilities as you help mold them to fulfill their unique potential. Learn more about potential jobs for special education teachers here.

Looking for a career in education? Sunbelt can help! Search through our available positions here.

The post History of Special Education appeared first on Sunbelt Staffing.

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Nursing is a rewarding but often stressful career. The critical nature of a nurse’s work, caring for sick and sometimes dying patients and their families, is naturally stressful. But a workforce shortage means that nurses may also have to take on larger workloads than is ideal, creating extra stress. In travel nurse jobs, nurses may also be regularly learning the ropes at new hospitals. And because healthcare regulations are constantly changing, nurses must also keep up with paperwork and new policies, which can be even more taxing.

If you feel stressed out and burned out by your nursing job, you’re not alone. Burnout among nurses is a “public health crisis,” according to the American Journal of Nursing. Seven out of 10 nurses reported that they feel burned out in their current positions, according to a recent survey. All that burnout is a result of the physical and mental exhaustion that nurses feel as a result of greater emotional and moral distress as they’re forced to make more difficult care decisions while working longer hours with fewer resources and more interruptions and documentation tasks than ever before.

While nurse jobs may be stressful, they don’t have to be unbearable. Nurses and other healthcare workers can take some simple but valuable steps to help relieve some of the pressure of their jobs. When you’re working long hours and crazy shifts, or dealing with worrisome patients and difficulty families, these nurse stress relief tips can make your day easier to cope with and help you avoid burn-out.

Lean on other nurses for support. 

Every nurse needs a friend or colleague at work who will listen to you vent or share your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes in a stressful situation, you simply need to get things off your chest and then you’ll feel better.

It’s also important to have other nurse colleagues you can turn to for advice or information when you’re stressed out or unsure about what steps to take. “I consult with my colleague about anything I don’t know, such as high-risk drugs, it does not embarrass me to ask and I feel less stressed out,” one nurse told a researcher in a study published in the Journal of Caring Sciences.

Take breaks. 

Try to get a handle on what types of work situations create the most stress, anxiety and frustration for you—and minimize your exposure to them as much as possible. Of course, you can’t dismiss yourself from certain job duties, but you can limit interactions with people who stress you out. You may also be able to delegate some tasks or work with another nurse to help each other cover the tasks that are tough.

Also, find some daily rituals that help relax you, whether it’s deep breathing, yoga, meditation or prayer. And when your shift is over, try not to bring worries from the hospital home with you.

Take care of yourself. 

Anyone who spends their time taking care of others knows that it’s easy to neglect their own needs in the process. But you can’t do a good job taking care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself first. That means you need to prioritize your own sleep, exercise and healthy eating. Make time for all these healthy habits and balance your work life with hobbies or other personal pursuits that help you relax and unwind. Find a positive distraction from the hospital stress, whether it’s joining a book club, planting a garden or taking an art class.

Focus on your positive impact. 

When your job as a nurse gets extremely stressful, it can be easy to lose sight of the reasons you decided to become a nurse in the first place. So take time to remember the good things—the patients and families who truly appreciate your work, your ability to make solid decisions about patient care, and your continually growing knowledge of healthcare practice. When something especially good happens, or when a supervisor, patient or family member thanks you or expresses how your work has been beneficial, write it down and keep track of it. Revisit those praises and good experiences when you feel stressed to remind you of the positive impact your work has on others every day.

Looking to start a travel healthcare career? Sunbelt can help! Search through our available positions here.

The post 5 Ways of Coping with the Stressful Hospital Work Environment appeared first on Sunbelt Staffing.

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Working on a travel assignment can offer great rewards, such as a hefty paycheck, a new experience, and a chance to see and explore a new part of the country. But to truly enjoy your travel assignment experience, you need a safe, affordable and clean place to stay—and finding acceptable furnished housing for several weeks or months at a time can be challenging.

If you’ve ever resorted to living in a bug-infested apartment or a hotel room in an unsafe neighborhood for a travel stint, you know firsthand that your living conditions can affect your stress level, as well as your productivity at work. But when you have a place that allows you to truly relax and recharge without worrying about crime or filth, you can do a better job at work and more fully enjoy your experience in a new city.

To find the temporary housing that will allow you to be at your best in your next travel assignment, consider these five tips.

Take control

Some travel assignments, such as those for nursing or allied health positions, offer a housing coordinator that will secure housing for you during your stay. Those who opt out of this service are offered a housing stipend, which is a monthly amount to pay for housing and varies based on the location and the company.

It may be easier to rely on the housing coordinator to handle housing for you, but if you have the time and energy to locate your own housing, you may be able to put extra money in your pocket. That’s because it’s common to find housing available at a lower rate than the stipend amount, which means you get to pocket the difference. You may also enjoy the assignment more, as you’re able to choose exactly where you want to live and the amenities you want nearby.

Start early 

As soon as you’ve accepted a new travel assignment, start looking for a place to stay. The earlier you secure housing, the less you’ll have to worry about it. If you’re going to a smaller city that doesn’t have as much housing available, or a larger city with higher rents or lower vacancy rates, it may take you longer to find acceptable digs. So don’t procrastinate the housing selection process.

Work your network

As a traveling professional, you’ve likely developed relationships with numerous people across the country along the way—and some of them may be able to help you find your next crash pad. Think about friends from college or from other travel assignments: Do any of them live in or near the area where you’re going? Might they recommend a good place to stay or even have a friend or family member with a place available to rent?

Consider using your social media accounts to ask discreetly if any of your connections know of temporary housing available in a certain location—you don’t want to post too many details about where you’ll be staying, but you can use social media to get a conversation started and then take the conversation offline if someone has information that can help you.

Mine online resources

Aside from your personal connections, you can probably find apartments, condos or houses for rent in your area through an online search. Sites like Craigslist are sometimes helpful, but they are also frequent destinations for scammers, so tread carefully.

Since you’ll likely only need a place for a few months—rather than a traditional 12-month lease—better options may be vacation rental sites such as VRBO, HomeAway and Airbnb. The properties listed on these sites have been vetted and are fully furnished. However, some owners may not be interested in long-term tenants, so you may have to try several properties before you find one that works. Also, look at similar sites that are geared specifically for travel nurses and other travel professionals, such as Furnished Finder. These sites feature properties whose owners are targeting professionals like you, so they may be an ideal fit.

Don’t overlook hotels 

While an apartment, condo or house may feel a little more like home, in some cases, an extended stay hotel furnished for corporate travelers may be your best housing option. You’ll probably want to live close to your workplace, and if there are no other short-term rentals close by, an extended stay hotel can do the trick. A unique place full of character may be what you really want, but the bottom line is that a clean, safe and affordable furnished hotel room may be all you really need.

Looking to start a travel healthcare career? Sunbelt can help! Search through our available positions here.

The post 5 Tips on Arranging Temporary Housing While on Your Travel Assignment appeared first on Sunbelt Staffing.

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