All those years of emergency and critical care experience that burned you out are going to be SO HANDY in school nursing!
I left bedside nursing for similar reasons to yours (after only 2.5 years) on my husband's suggestion. He thought I would love being a school nurse. I told him he had no idea what school nursing really was (the liability and worry of being the only medical professional for hundreds of children, the possible emergencies without hospital technology, the lower pay, among other concerns) but decided to go for it, mostly after reading around this forum. I could never have worked in hospital peds because I don't have the fortitude for it but I love children and found a good district with a district nurse whose experience and knowledge I get to pick at when I am unsure of myself.
While I am having a rough start to my first full year (started in January) due to super busy days, I still fully agree with the popular opinion here of "my worst day at this job is still better than my best day in the hospital." Even on days when I see way more students than I should (like seeing 90+ children of whom only 5 are legitimately ill or injured), I get to teach about smart health habits and see children learning. I get to advocate for kiddos who need medication at school or to see the doctor for something that has been bothering them for a long time. Most days (I work in elementary), I get to help at least one child switch from crying to smiling before they leave my office. Although you may feel under-appreciated or wrongly utilized at times (we did not work hard for our nursing licenses just to put ice packs on every single discomfort in the student body or to panic over lice
. sometimes the hardest part of school nursing is that we not being surrounded by other health people who understand what we actually do), at the end of the day the children really do appreciate having a nurse. And you will also appreciate being that nurse.
I am in a different state from yours but I simply looked up all the school districts in my area and checked for job postings. I applied for quite a few and interviewed with three before picking the best fit for me. It was a fruitful search in the middle of the school year, so that's possible. I am also in the middle of my BSN, which limited my options (despite having a non-nursing Bachelor's) but still got a great job. Keep a good eye out--from what you've shared I really do think you would be happy and more than capable working in this role! Also, summer camps and summer schools
are always an option for summer income (that's what I did, but now that I will be a parent soon I intend to take advantage of summers off). Best of luck!!