Just accepted school RN job in a huge school district!

  1. And I'm thrilled! I've had my eye on school nursing since my clinical rotation in nursing school. I am so beyond burnt out in the hospital - so I took a 50% pay cut to leave. I'll survive right? Lol

    I wanted to say hello to everyone here!

    I'll be reading this entire forum over the next few weeks. The nurse I interviewed with gave me a wealth of information to start looking at - our state department of education, immunization requirements, community resources, etc.

    I'll be working in the largest school district in my state, with 71 schools and over 47,000 students. We rank the 47th lowest school district in the US. Huge homeless population, free lunch program is 100% (this was newly implemented and a good thing...all kids can eat). But our community is intensely involved in this district with volunteering, donations, etc.

    I will have my own school, which will be either a middle school or high school (my choice because that's the population I work with and enjoy). My background in nursing is PICU for 2 years and the last 8 years have been in child and adolescent psych.

    I will be orienting with an RN at her school for 1 week, then will be orienting at my school with an RN for a week. The nurses meet once a month. Policies and procedures are in place and easy to access. The computer program I'll be using is super easy. LPNs are 1:1 for chronic care patients. The nurses in this district stay, very low turnover (I always ask that question). Certain grade levels require hearing and vision screening. Since our schools have so many students each, I'll have about 5 other nurses come help, plus the nurses at the health department.

    Reading this board I felt I knew what questions to ask and what to look for. So thank you for that!

    I need to find my stethoscope. Any other supplies that *I* might want personally as a nurse in a school? I do need a bag I guess, medium size. I added that School Nursing book you all have mentioned in here. I'll get that if the school doesn't already have one.

    I'm excited to be here
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   Flare
    Welcome to the cool kids table! The forum is a little slow because it's summer and most of us are enjoying our perk of having off - but come the school year, you'll see that we're ripe with activity. Don't ever hesitate to ask anything. Even if it seems silly. Trust me - i've been doing this a long time and I still ask plenty of questions.
    Enjoy your orientation - most school nurses don't get that. It's a pretty autonomous job. You will feel our what you need in time. Most officxes have some sort of go-bag established. But we all make them work for us. There is probably a stethoscope there - but you will probably want to bring your own. The one there is probably el cheapo and about 40 years old and it's primary function if kids listening to theirs own hearts and being lent to the science teacher for their lab on the heart. (Nobody touches my personal stethoscope).

    Oh, don't forget your pink on Wednesdays
  4. by   moreoreo
    Congrats! Welcome! I myself am pretty new to the school nurse game and have just finished my first 1/2 year of newbie struggle but everyone says and I believe that it will get better from here. I think you will feel much more valued in your new role as well as much more able to make a positive difference. Other than my stethoscope I have not needed much in the way of my own supplies though I keep my own penlight and scissors in my work bag just so I have that reassurance. Just bring your positive attitude! You are going to be such a blessing to your school and district with all the great experience you have!
  5. by   EvilNurse73
    Thank you very much for the welcome!
  6. by   EvilNurse73
    Thank you! Like any area of nursing, as you know, the 1st year at a new job is kinda stressful. That's been my experience. I never enjoy that part lol.

    You mentioned 1/2 year at your new job. Did you start in the middle of the school year?
  7. by   moreoreo
    Yes, I started halfway through the year--hired in December during winter break and started in January! I had just moved hospitals and towns to get married a few months earlier and abhorred my new hospital despite loving the people I worked with. My husband suggested school nursing. I said he didn't know what he was talking about but looked into it and started to think it might be a good fit! The previous nurse at my school got pregnant and decided to move back to her home state to be closer to her family. But in fact there were several schools in my area that were looking for a nurse in the middle of the school year!
  8. by   scuba nurse
    Welcome! I love this group and just found it this past year, and it is GREAT! You may also want to join National Association of School Nurses, you can find a lot of info there as well. Though you can't post anonymously like you can here, but this group is more "real life" I find.
    I too work in an inner city elementary school, one of 35, and have a lot of homeless kids, shelter kids, 100 % free lunch and am located "in the hood".

    I LOVE IT!
  9. by   HazelLPN
    I am also a former PICU nurse turned school nurse (although I'm only an assistant school nurse..and a substitute at that....working mainly with special needs units and medically fragile students that the regular school RN wouldn't have time to manage with everything else she/he must do). It seems like many of our school nurses in my district are former critical care nurses.

    Our school RNs are on the same salary schedule as the teachers. With advanced degrees and experience, they can do pretty well. I think they max out in the $90K range with 30 years with an MSN/MEd...even higher with a PhD. The school RNs have their own bargaining unit within the teachers unit represented by the NEA.

    When I was still working in critical care I would joke that I wanted to be a school nurse and give ice packs and band aids. Little did I know how much responsible and autonomy the school nurse has...and there is no attending, resident, intern, charge nurse, house supervisor or colleague working with you. YOU are pretty much on your own and the expert of all things medical. Staff members will tell you all about their medical problems. I can't tell you how many times I've said "oh, you should call your family doctor about that" or "Let's call you doctor right now" in some cases.

    I remember feeling naked when I started working thinking "where is the drug box?" and then remember "wait....I don't do that anymore.....I call 911 and EMS will arrive to do the rest.

    Your experience as a PICU nurse surely will help you with the many medical fragile children we are getting in our schools these days. They are very lucky to have you.

    Best to you in your new career,

    Mrs H.
  10. by   OldDude
    Welcome to the farm.
  11. by   MinnesotaBeagle
    Welcome! PICU and psych: you've got the perfect background! I just finished my first year and noticed I really need to improve on my psych nursing skills (it's so sad how many kids have anxiety/panic/depression issues, I had several students pass out from panic attacks this year!!!) I don't regret leaving the hospital for a minute. I'm not even halfway through my 9 weeks off for summer yet. I love this job!!!!!
  12. by   3peas
    I recommend a pulse oximeter. My district discourages and we don't document pulse ox, but I have so many asthmatics I keep one at school. It's a way to back up what I know I'm seeing and hearing. In the school you don't have much in the way of a back up. That was intimidating to me at first, but now my assessment skills are "on point" as the kids say. I also have a critical care and psych back ground. Both of those will serve you very well. In my opinion the psych more in some ways especially if you are doing HS. If you have always wanted to do school nursing you will love it! It's an awesome specialty.
  13. by   BethG73
    I would have a change of clothes at work...just in case.

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