Best to start at elementary,middle or high school?

  1. Changing careers in nursing from the ER to School Nursing. So thrilled to do this! I have been a nurse for 2 years and wondering where the best place to start as a new school nurse? Which grade levels for a school nurse are least stressful?
    Elementary, Middle school or High school?

    Thanks!
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Blackcat99
    :chuckle I think elementary school would be less stressful. Older children can be much more trouble. Good luck :hatparty:
  4. by   Havin' A Party!
    Here the mandated progression is: elementary,middle, then high school. ;>)
  5. by   nurselopez
    I was our district's "float" nurse and had the opportunity to work at every level. First of all, the odds of getting a job in an elementary school are greater just because of the numbers of schools. Aside from that, I think it is a good idea to start with the elementary schools because it is important to learn and understand the stages of growth/maturation. By learning this progression, you will know what information the child is missing, or should be learning.

    I have settled at a wonderful elementary school and taught "Growth and Development" for the first time this spring. I had a lot to review, not only the stages of anatomy and physiology to teach about puberty, but I needed to review the stages of personality, cognitive, and moral development to understand where the children in 5th grade are expected to be. By acquiring this basic knowledge, I am better prepared to teach, and deal with, the changing and maturing student.

    Especially coming from an ER, reviewing the stages of growth and development is important to you as it is for all of us, so we can have the most impact on the health and health education of our students. You may also have more experience or a preference with one age group, which is certainly an important consideration.

    Good luck with finding what I think is the greatest job in the world!
  6. by   texas121
    Thanks nurselopez!
    I enjoy working with all the kids but I find I have a preference for the older kids especially teenagers. Thanks for sharing your experience.
  7. by   Jeanine
    I started at a middle school because like you, I get along better with the older kids. I like when I can joke with them, which is hard with the little ones. I also like when they can tell me what's wrong and I don't have to ask a million questions. I like to treat them like young adults and not have to do everything for them. I enjoy talking to them about the problems they are experiencing at their age. I also enjoy health class with 7th and 8th graders. We talk about drug and ETOH problems, MVA's, and the things I've seen in my 14 years in the ER. We discuss sex and STD's, date rape, etc. After all of this, I would find the little kids boring.
    Go with what works for you!!!
  8. by   mushberry
    Quote from Jeanine
    I started at a middle school because like you, I get along better with the older kids. I like when I can joke with them, which is hard with the little ones. I also like when they can tell me what's wrong and I don't have to ask a million questions. I like to treat them like young adults and not have to do everything for them. I enjoy talking to them about the problems they are experiencing at their age. I also enjoy health class with 7th and 8th graders. We talk about drug and ETOH problems, MVA's, and the things I've seen in my 14 years in the ER. We discuss sex and STD's, date rape, etc. After all of this, I would find the little kids boring.
    Go with what works for you!!!
    That sounds JUST like me! I haven't found anyone with the same opinion yet...I just got out of nursing school and all my classmates hated working with the teenagers, or if they did like it, they didn't know why.

    I wouldn't mind trying school nursing some day...I think it would be awesome. My placements in nursing school, I did one in a daycare, teaching small kids, and I did one in a group home with teenagers and one in a high school, teaching health classes once a week to a family living course, and during my public health rotation, we spent a lot of time in the schools, my preceptor and I. I LOVED it. I love being able to teach people about things both they and I have an interest in. And I really do like the school setting.

    Do schools in the US tend to hire nurses or is it done through public health? I'm from Canada, and where I lived, it was all run through public health, there was no specific "school nurse." Just someone from Public Health that came in from time to time, and may or may not have an office in the school.
  9. by   Jeanine
    Every state in the US is different from what I can tell. Some don't have nurses in the schools, some do only for meds, some have them but they're not certified, and some require certification. Check with the National Association of School Nurses at www.nasn.org to see what applies and where. I love school nursing now but wouldn't give up my experience with the developmentally disabled or in the ER for anything. I was definitely ready for the job in the school and those jobs made me better at what I do now. I don't know too many people who started in school nursing right after nursing school.
  10. by   mushberry
    Quote from Jeanine
    I don't know too many people who started in school nursing right after nursing school.
    Where I come from some people do tend to do that, but only because school nursing is run through public health. The schools don't have their own nurse...there is a public health nurse responsible for that district or area of town, or multiple towns, and he/she will cover all schools in that area. So really, they don't always get a lot of time for school stuff, because they're busy with so many other things. In the larger centers, a nurse might only work in schools, but she might cover 5 different high schools, so it can be pretty busy. But still she is hired through public health. So I guess I have a different perspective.
  11. by   cpgrn
    I started with 3 - 5 year olds. Definitely difficult. They don't know their names half of the time, much less their phone numbers or addresses. After 3+ years I moved to the middle school. I just love it! They are difficult at times, but much more cooperative for the most part. I think you just have to find the group that suits you best.
  12. by   paxlax
    It depends what you find stressful. In elementary, you probably won't get to many fakers, but more small band-aid treatable injuries. In high school, you will probably have to deal with a lot of fakers, but not so many injuries. I would say go with middle school, b/c it is a combination of the 2.
  13. by   DDRN4me
    Not sure how many replies were from actual school nurses. It is very different in each setting. If you do not have strong pediatric experience you would be much better in a high school setting. the younger kids often have many "small " issues that can mask a real issue. Teenagers are usually pretty blunt and /or easy to read... you will have frequent fliers in each setting..you learn who is who!!! good luck in whatever you choose!!
  14. by   luvschoolnursing
    Go with the age group you like best. Believe me, you will have a LOT to learn about them regardless. As far as fakers, the little ones can be very manipulative, in some ways more than high schoolers. High schoolers have a lot of complex social problems and the middle school kids are just mouthy and obnoxious. I float between all 3 and must say I love them all. If I had to choose, though I would pick high school

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