advice and encouragement please

  1. I am a full time nurse on an ortho unit, and I am completely burnt out and searching for another area of nursing. I recently interviewed for a full time school nurse position and have been very excited, the only thing is that I always take family and my spouse's opinions to heart and well lets just say they don't seem very excited about this possible job change. My husband and family will always be supportive in whatever I do, but the one thing they have both questioned is the pay and working 5 days a week. They just don't get how miserable I am at my current job (12 hour shift usually = 14-15 hours, with maybe 15min. for lunce and 2-3 bathroom breaks) and yes the pay is better at the hospital and there will be a decrease if I accept the school nurse position (my husband and I just bought our first house) but I am at the point where I just want to enjoy going to work and not worry all the time!!! I guess I am just looking for any advice, I just don't know what to do.
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   memphispanda
    Explain to them what you just said here! If money is an issue, could you pick up a couple of spare shifts each month at the hospital?
  4. by   bergren
    As much as I love school nursing, I am not sure it is the solution for you. It might be, but I am not sure. What I am sure of is that you need to get out of the job you are in.

    School nursing will be a change, but will not be a peice of cake. The ratios are bad all over, including school nursing. It is not at all uncommon for school nurses to miss lunch DAILY and the same with bathroom breaks.

    Nothing in your email mentioned reasons why school nursing is the answer to your problem. I am concerned that once you get into the positon, and find the pace stressful and not relaxing, you will resent the steep cut in pay - and believe me, there is NO comparison on pay.

    The weekend shifts are an option, but then you are working 12 days per pay period while trying to learn a new role with many different school and state based protocols and background to learn. There is a steep learning curve with school nursing.

    Honestly, look into non bedside opportunites at your hospital or acute possibilities locally that pay more than schools now that you have a house payment and all the expenses of owning a home in addition to the mortgage. Consider home care - the pay is still fairly good, but the pace is slower. Another option could be recovery room or pre op in either the hospital or a free standing ambulatory surgical center. Other options: Quality assurance, utilization review, nursing inservice/ education.

    If I am wrong, and you really have a hankering for school nursing and want to make that your new career, talk to some of the nurses who work for the district. As much as I love school nursing, I am not sure it is the solution for you. It might be, but I am not sure. What I am sure of is that you need to get out of the job you are in.

    School nursing will be a change, but will not be a piece of cake. The ratios are bad all over, including school nursing. It is not at all uncommon for school nurses to miss lunch DAILY and the same with bathroom breaks.

    Nothing in your email mentioned reasons why school nursing is the answer to your problem. I am concerned that once you get into the position, and find the pace stressful and not relaxing, you will resent the steep cut in pay - and believe me, there is NO comparison on pay.

    The weekend shifts are an option, but then you are working 12 days per pay period while trying to learn a new role with many different school and state based protocols and background to learn. There is a steep learning curve with school nursing.

    Honestly, look into non bedside opportunities at your hospital or acute possibilities locally that pay more than schools now that you have a house payment and all the expenses of owning a home in addition to the mortgage. Consider home care - the pay is still fairly good, but the pace is slower. Another option could be recovery room or pre op in either the hospital or a freestanding ambulatory surgical center. Other options: Quality assurance, utilization review, nursing inservice/ education.

    If I am wrong, and you really have a hankering for school nursing and want to make that your new career, talk to some of the nurses who work for the district.
  5. by   amyBSN
    I actually have always wanted to get into school nursing but knew I should get at least 2 years experience in hospital nursing. My first major in college was elementary education but then I switched to nursing. I love nursing but I miss the interaction with children, I also taught dance for about 10 years to young girls and when I see them now at their recitals and competitions I miss the interaction with kids even more. I did a rotation in nursing school with a high school nurse and really enjoyed it, I especially like the fact that I will be able to do preventative nursing in ways of teaching health care. I know that it will be challenging but I have thought about this since nursing school, maybe I am just using excuses about the long hours at the hospital because I am trying to justify my reasons for wanting a new job. I have a great manager and co-workers who are supportive and helpful, and in a way I am torn because I really want to see other areas of nursing and expand my knowledge base.
  6. by   bergren
    OK, that added information makes a big difference. I do think you have a drive to do school nursing, not just to get out of the staff position.

    If for some reason that job does not materialize, you might consider moving to acute pediatrics or ER. Check out the local state school nurse organization http://www.nasn.org/affiliates/governancemap.htm and consider starting to go to the school nurse conferences. I found my last job AT a state conference. Also, many states have school nurse orientation in August or September. Again, great resource, shows you are serious, and jobs can be found at the conferences. Bring cards and or resumes with you.

    Sign up to sub or even volunteer at the vision and hearing screenings in the fall. Many school nurse openings are known through word of mouth and subs are high on the list for new positions.

    Good luck, and let us know what happens.
  7. by   bergren
    OOpps! One more thing I should have mentioned. School Nurse salaries can vary a GREAT deal from district to district, totally unrelated to responsiblities, but more related to whether the nurse is on teacher salary scale or with the bus drivers - I am serious!!!. You may want to try to network with the state organization and local school nurses to find out if the salary this district is offering is even within the norm for school nursing. If not, you can try to negotiate for a higher starting salary, or you may want to wait for an opening in adistrict where you do not need to fight this battle. They often try not to give you credit for non school experience, but they would not consider hiring a new grad.
  8. by   Mrs.B
    This is my first year as a school nurse (after two years post-school med-surg nursing) and it is TOTALLY different than anyone thinks it is. Bergren is right, it is stressful and the pay is terrible but there is a certain level of autonomy and freedom that you absolutely DO NOT get at the hospital. If you like independence and feel confident in your assesment skills (oh yeah, and you have to LOVE kids, teens etc.), it'll be a great job for you. Just think, you'll be the most mysterious person in the building. No one has any clue what goes on in my office, they just know that I'm here if they need me.

    Oh and did i mention? The pay really does stink!

    However, like Bergren said, it does vary from district to district. The nurse in the next district over from me makes about $25 grand more than I do!!! (She's on the teachers scale)

    Anyway, I too went to school to teach originally and switched focus after I got a degree in English and I too have always loved the idea of school nursing. Keep in mind though, that the idea of school nursing is lots different than the reality.

    Good luck!

    -Deb
    PS. where are you? there might be a position opening up for next fall in one of the districts near me....
  9. by   Karina212
    Hello,

    I think you should take the position as a school nurse if that is what you really want! Don't worry about what other people think. If you're worried about the decrease in pay, stay per diem at your hospital or even consider camp nursing over the summer. You have to do what makes you happy or you can not fully give yourself to others in the way that you want to. I have learned this also when I took a new job. Well, good luck. Keep us posted.

    Kerri
  10. by   MomNRN
    I agree with everything said above. My days are very busy and stressful! I usually get about 15 minutes for lunch (if I am lucky) and it is never uninterrupted!

    I got into school nursing because the schedule would work better with my family. The pay where I am STINKS! But I don't stay here for pay and hours. I stay here because I love it!

    I love the kids, the autonomy, and the great staff I work with. It is a job I truly enjoy going to every day!
  11. by   drdeb
    For what it's worth: For your own health, and long term ability to be there for your family, you need sustainable work. And by that I mean a sustainable you, not just a few more dollars to meet finanical goals. Financial goals and must haves are often more flexible than we realize. Nurses are typically poor at self care. Model good self care and give yourself permission to be in charge of your own career devlopment. Good luck!!
  12. by   passing thru
    drdeb said it best !

    I would feel very bad if my SO and family told me they wanted me to stick with the highest paying job--knowing how unhappy I was, and knowing the god-awful hours .

    I would feel devalued and "used". As in "being used."

    My self-esteem would crater.

    Of course,, me--being me-- I'd probably tell them all to
    "Go to Hades!!"
    And that would be the end of the discussion.


    Well, probably not,..................................
    then, I'd probably say, ""take it or leave it !!!!"

    And go make MYSELF a coke float and snag the remote and
    get myself comfortable for the rest of my life!
  13. by   zambezi
    Hello everyone...I don't really have too much to add to this discussion, only that I noticed that a few post ago, Bergren stated that schools often don't hire new grads. From my experience, this depends on the district. Two students that I graduated with split our district as new grads (approx two HS, two Jr HS, and something like six or eight elementary schools). I haven't kept in touch too closely, but I think that they are doing well and enjoying what they are doing....Though I will say that experience in acute care seems like a good idea too...Good Luck with your decision!!!
  14. by   love4neos
    Amy, Funny I run into you here!! Don't listen to people about how much easier working 12 hour shifts are rather than 8s. My husband doesn't understand either, but everyone is different. Since I started working 8s I feel so much better. I look forward to going to work EVERYDAY. There is no dread the night before, like when I worked 12s. You do what's in your heart, and what is going to make you happy. My job is my passion right now, I like it that much. Don't give up on home-health!!.....Joanna

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