Do You Like Being A School Nurse? - page 2

by Jules0612

11,232 Views | 48 Comments

I have been an RN since 1993 in the ICU. I am thinking about changing career paths and going into school nursing. Overall, do you like your job? What is your average day like? What are the things that bother you the most... Read More


  1. 4
    I have been a school nurse for 15 years....and I'm growing to dislike it. In my case, it's perhaps because I'm retiring this summer and have begun humming my "'We're not gonna take it" song...
    T.H.R.N., NurseEllie13, NutmeggeRN, and 1 other like this.
  2. 12
    School nurse here for 1.5 years and I love it. Best job I ever had. Former med surg/telemetry RN for 5 years. I enjoy being my own boss, I run the health office, I like the minimal interaction with adults. I mostly talk and see only elementary children all day. My principal is great and so is the office staff. I make a lot of calls and talk to parents, but usually they are quick calls to come pick up your child, etc. Most people (parents and teachers) trust my judgment and don't argue with my decision. My stress level is very low - so different from the hospital which was literally life and death on a daily basis.

    I work from 8:15 to 3pm. What's not to like about that? - I am home as soon as my children are. I miss nothing.

    Every weekend off, no holidays, no summers. 3 personal days and 10 sick days a year if needed. No mandatory overtime. No patient emergencies at the end of your shift in which you have to stay late to give report/chart/etc.

    I look forward to the new school year and then, in June, for that school year to end. There is a sense of accomplishment and completion with each school year. There is a beginning and an end. And then your 8 week reward of summer.

    I am never bored. Probably because I work in a busy elementary. I see about 40 kids a day. 5 daily meds. No diabetics. I laugh when I think about my former med passes in the hospital - the grind/stress of pulling 15 meds per patient (3 times a day each patient!) crushing meds, cutting meds, applesauce, waiting for your elderly patient to swallow, insulin, tube feeds, IV fluids, blood trans., 5 patient load, discharges, admissions, rapid responses, codes...My current med pass is a total of 5 meds a day - the kids are so sweet they swallow them in 2 seconds and are then off to lunch.

    I have plenty of time to get things done in between seeing students. I put my radio on, enter my immunizations in the computer, do paperwork, organize stuff, do screenings, etc.

    I make $47k a year for 35 hours a week. But only 40 weeks a year. I will eventually max out around $80k a year - not too bad!
    I have GREAT health and dental benefits.
    I will retire with a pension of 80% of my 3 highest years of work. So, around $65k a year every year after I retire. I will retire at 62.

    There are PLENTY of opportunities to make more money as a school nurse - you can do camp nursing during the summer, you can do afterschool programs, you can do per diem pediatric home care in the evenings. per diem weekend work, etc. I have my masters now and could be a nursing instructor.

    Leaving bedside hospital nursing was a great decision for me and my family. It was a good job to get my "critical care experience". However, it is not worth the $, stress, my health, missing my children, the liability, etc.

    Good luck w/your decision.
  3. 7
    My district coordinator likes to say "the worst day as a school nurse is better than the best day as a floor nurse." May not be 100% true . . . but I sure do enjoy it!
    TSMRNBSN, T.H.R.N., tallgirl1, and 4 others like this.
  4. 3
    I have been a school nurse for 5 months now, after being a med-surg nurse for 1.5 years, then an ER nurse for 6.5 years. I took a pay cut coming to this position, but I looooove my schedule. I am in the same school district as my kids. Starting in October of this year, my middle child started with some major mental health issues including hospitalization, trialing meds to find the right combo that works for her, etc. I work in the same building as her and I feel like it was divine intervention that led me to taking this job. I could not have worked 3-12s a week and been there for her like I have had to be for the past 4-5 months.

    Personal stuff aside, I love my "kids". I work with high school students and sometimes cover the junior high as well, for a total 600-700 kids. I have 12 diabetics in the high school, 5 kids with daily meds and I see anywhere from 20-40 kids a day for various other stuff- anywhere from "Can I have a tampon?" to a symptomatic resting heart rate of 140 with no significant history. My triage experience from the ER has been HUGELY helpful in this new position. The kids are respectful to me, probably because I am respectful to them to begin with. They make me laugh every day. Administration is supportive of me and my nursing/medical knowledge. The teachers for the most part have been great. I haven't had a "bad" day at work yet, but I am pretty upbeat person, and that never really happened in my old job either. Call me weird, but I actually enjoy the paperwork and filing part of this job. I like having my own office, but I miss interacting my old coworkers every day too. There are 3 other nurses in my district and we try to meet monthly to bounce ideas off each other and review policies, etc.

    Hope that gives kind of a picture of what my day is like. Good luck in your decision.
    Last edit by ohiobobcat on Feb 27 : Reason: Improper apostrophe use...grrr
    Erindel RN, T.H.R.N., and tallgirl1 like this.
  5. 3
    Quote from fetch
    My district coordinator likes to say "the worst day as a school nurse is better than the best day as a floor nurse." May not be 100% true . . . but I sure do enjoy it!
    I so agree!!! I love love love my job, the kids, the staff here and it is so worth the pay cut to be a school nurse.
    One of my favorite things about being the school nurse is how much better I feel after a day here as opposed to a shift bedside nursing. Very little back pain if any most days!
    T.H.R.N., tallgirl1, and fetch like this.
  6. 2
    LOVE it! Yes, I gripe and vent about it sometimes. But, ultimately, it's awesome. I was a SAHM for years, until my youngest started full day school. Then I was very lucky to fall into this job.

    My main gripe is the stinky pay. But, it's a decent trade-off.
    T.H.R.N. and tallgirl1 like this.
  7. 4
    This is year 20 for moi!!! IT is the hardest job I have had some days but ultimatly the best!!!! When people ask me how I can work with HS kids everyday, I tell them that at least one kid makes me laugh every single day, and it is true!!
    bsyrn, T.H.R.N., fetch, and 1 other like this.
  8. 2
    I've worked in LTC, Urgent care, Dr offices, home health ....BUT my 15 yrs in school nursing have been my favorite by far! I'm just looking forward to retirement and some quality time with my grandkids!! Some days are frustrating, as in any job. I have enjoyed getting to know the kids & their families, and the continuity of seeing the kids/siblings for 5-6 yrs in succession!
    T.H.R.N. and tallgirl1 like this.
  9. 1
    There are days that I love it and days that it is just too slow and I wish I worked somewhere else. I work at three elementary schools and have been a school nurse for about 5 years. I have over 25 years of pediatric experience in various settings. One of the best parts of the job has been that it has allowed me the time to get my Masters degree. Overall, the job is enjoyable and less stressful than other settings I have worked. Unfortunately, the pay is also less, although I am on the teacher's payscale so I get paid more for having a Masters.
    T.H.R.N. likes this.
  10. 6
    After close to 30 years in a hospital setting (floor nursing, human resources, lastly out-patient clinic) I became a school nurse. I was used to not working weekends/nights/holidays and already vested so I was able to take a hit financially.

    I was fortunate to be assigned to an amazing school with a supportive principal. Average day? There is none. Somedays will drag on and on and others will run you ragged (stomach bug, lice, low blood sugars, screenings, playground accidents, etc. never mind parents, teachers, etc.) The biggest adjustment for me was the "tag you're it factor". No call light to hit when you have a situation, no one "down the hall" to run something by. The flip side to that is the "tag you're it" factor. You have your own space to set up your way, you are in charge of the flow of your office and you learn real fast ( if haven't already) to be an independent practitioner. I work with a great group of nurses and we are indeed a phone call away if we need to bounce something off of each other or network a solution.

    My advice to anyone who becomes a school nurse? Learn the culture of your building/know your audience. Once you get a handle on your parents and staff, you will find them receptive to pretty much anything. Best perk so far? The year I became a school nurse (I did it for child care purposes) was the worst winter we had had in a long time and just to hear the radio say there was no school the first time was "priceless"!


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