I've worked full-time for this one school district for 5 yrs then started subbing for 5 years in order to work part-time while my kids were young. I was re-hired full-time this year. I like my job. I'm comfortable with my schools. I have two grade schools and there are other nurses in my district to offer support and advice.
I was just contacted about applying for a full-time school nurse in the same district my kids are in. I would be the only nurse and have one high school and three grade schools. I would work less days and make a little more money. The same nurse has been there for at least 20 yrs and had to leave due to illness. They do not have nurse subs so I've never been able to check it out that way.
It would be really nice to have the same schedule, time off, snow days etc as my own kids. I'm really torn. I guess it's just fear of the unknown. I'm just not sure what it would be like having that many schools all by myself. I also would feel very bad about leaving in the middle of the year. However, I'd hate to miss a good opportunity. What would you do?
Jan 18, '14
How many kids total would that be? So its more kids than you have now but less hours? Is that manageable? My state ratio is 1 to 1500. Are the benefits better? Can you talk to the nurse that was there for 20 years re her favorite and least favorite parts of working for that district? What do your kids think? This affects them too. Can you commit to full time long term now? I would consider these and if the only reason holding you back is fear of leaving your comfort zone then go for it.
Jan 18, '14
Thank you for your response!!
This district works about 15 less days a year-not a big difference but some. Benefits pretty much the same other than pay rate just a little higher. There's 2,450 students in the district-one nurse. Teacher aides are trained to take care of diabetics, pass meds, etc.
My kids don't care one way or another which district I choose because even if I choose theirs I won't see them much since I'll be traveling between four rural schools.
Where I'm at now, I'm in charge of around 600 now but no more than 1500 max. We take care of our diabetics-has to be nurse. I live on the border of two states so I work in one, live in another-that's why so different. I'm not sure how to get a hold of past nurse-only have work numbers and emails for her plus I'm hesitant to bother her while she's going through a hard time. In the past we've briefly talked where she's made comments like the job was a pain but she was there forever so she may have been venting. I feel like she didn't get a lot of respect because teachers would make comments like "she doesn't take lice seriously enough" or "she's never here". Well I can totally understand. Four schools and that many students she wouldn't have lots of time at each school.
My my school district has lots of resources, support, subs, and the option of subbing or part-time where my kid's district does not. However, they are much more easy going and less drama in my kid's school and kids aren't spoiled with having a nurse there all the time to go see for every little issue.
Does anyone here have a district with a similar amount of students (2450) that they are alone in charged of? Just wondering what that's like.
Jan 18, '14
In my district I started at half time (with phone triage the other half). With 5 buildings (very close together) and 2600 students, all I had time for was putting out fires. Similar set up with Paraprofessionals trained in each building. Last school year my responsibilities were decreased to only three buildings (all the elementaries) and about 1200 students, still half time. I feel much more productive and, although it's still a far cry from NASN recommended ratio, I feel like we're much safer, too. You are describing a very different model of school nursing one district to the other, you have to be comfortable with your training/supervisory skills to "let go" and delegate tasks.
Good luck whichever you decide on!
Jan 18, '14
It may be time for a pros and cons list to really visualize the decision. Better schedule, less hours, more money - but a lot more kids, new stressors, and unlicensed staff providing care. How important is the better schedule? Will you be leaving your current position in okay status if you decide to return? Can you meet with a few teachers or administrators / principal and ask them most important qualities in their school nurse? You said teachers have complained but there's less drama. Sounds like the teachers complaints are not directed towards the nurse but the system or you at least won't take personally. Which leads me to believe you'll be able to handle that part of it. Also, definitely give the new position at least 6-12 months, preferably a full school year, to decide if it was right for you. During that time don't worry about whether you made the right decision. Just focus on adjusting and settling in. Let us know what you decide.
Last edit by janeybirdRN on Jan 18, '14
Jan 21, '14
i was faced with a similar decision 2 years ago. The nurse in my hometown district was retiring and contacted me personally to let me know the job was up for grabs and that she'd be happy to put in a good word for me. The plusses in my case: same schedule as my daughter would eventually be on (she is a K student this yr), more pay, short almost non existent drive to work.
minuses: leaving a district that I was very comfortable and happy in, going to a smaller district in size but not in student amount - which meant that things would be handled very differently, working in the town that i live in. at the end of the day the plusses won and i took the job.
Beyond the factor of living where I work, the other factors for me were all a matter of comfort and familiarity. Those things change and improve over time. I have been the new nurse in schools several times and I can vouch that the second year in district is much easier than the first. And beyond that you become an old pro and part of the fabric. But even the factor on living where I work became less and less of a factor of things that I care about. I'm part of this community, I work in this community. Sure, I'm not going to go out of my way to do anything foolish like rollerblade naked down main street - but I'm going to live my life. My students get to see me outside of school all the time. They see me in the supermarket, they see me when I respond with the fire department (which never fails to blow their little minds!) and they see me when I drop my daughter off at girl scouts. Some of my students even know where I live. Can it be a pain in the butt? once in a while I'll get a parent that decides that they want a school nurse consult during my off hours. My rule is that I get to decide exactly what services I provide off the clock. Answering a question about medication policy - yes, I'll probably answer it. Check a head for lice in the parking lot of the riteaid - NO - mom or dad is certainly able to do that themselves.
And as a parting thought i'll leave you with this - why not go out on a limb? that's where the fruit is...
Jan 22, '14
Love it. Go out on a limb, that's where the fruit is. Great advice all around.
Jan 23, '14
Thank you for all the advice! I've decided to at least apply for it and see where it takes me. I can at least learn more of what the job entails by an interview before deciding 100% one way or the other. I'll keep you posted!
Jan 24, '14
Good Luck with the interviews and your decision. Follow the process and go with what feels right in your gut.
Feb 7, '14
Update: Well luckily I was able to get a hold of former nurse that held the job and compare differences. Her advice was to stay put where I am now since I have it much better than she did. I decided to take her advice. I didn't even apply because I knew I didn't want it. They were ready to offer me the job and just assumed I wanted it so it was already being spread around I was taking over! Even though that's flattering, my instinct told me to stay put. Even my kids thought I would be happier where I am now. Also, my long-term goal is to go back to part-time as soon as feasibly possible and that's not even an option in this other district. Thanks for all the advice!
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