Need insight, please

  1. Hi! I posted this question on the general forum, but didn't get much of a response... I'm looking into school nursing, but before I jump from the frying pan and into the fire, I'd like some input from those of you who have some experience in this area. I know it's late (sort of), but I keep getting flyers from agencies looking for school nurses. I live in the NYC area and understand there's lots of work. In any case, what are the ups and downs of school nursing? What are working conditions like (I suppose that they vary widely from school to school)? Why did you go into/avoid this specialty? Any things I should consider before leaping?

    I appreciate your input!!! Nicola
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   canoehead
    Well, hard to answer, are you an experienced nurse, or a new grad? What type of school would you be aiming for- inner city or private religious? Are there any other nurses on staff to bounce things off of? I am not a school nurse but I know I couldn't really answer you without more information.
  4. by   davisll
    I am a school nurse in South Carolina and have been for three years. I have been a nurse for 8 years and have worked in just about every nursing position from LTC to Director of Assisted Living Facility. I choose school nursing for a change of pace, I ended up falling in love with it. I work in an elementary school and love the hours 8:00am-3:30pm, I get summers off and several holidays off. The only downfall is the pay sucks, so I work a parttime job one weekend a month at a LTC facility to make up the difference. We teach classes, give medication, screenings, first Aid, all sorts of health related things, keep up with immunizations etc. It sound simple but at times it is very stressful. I wouldn't give it up for anything in the world. I hope this helps. As of last year we now have a nurse in every school in our county. This is a very rewarding job.
  5. by   WashYaHands
    I work part time at a co-ed private boarding/day school for grades 9-12. My setting is different than public school in that students live on campus in dorms. Myself and another RN cover the health center hours from 7:30am - 5:30pm. We take turns being on call nights and weekends. The pay is not the greatest, so I also work per diem 2 weekends a month at a Rehabilitaion Hospital when I'm not on call at the school.

    Private school nurses are the primary contact for students who have health care needs, both acute and chronic. We administer medications, make appointments with off campus providers, set up transportation for students to appointments, maintain health records (immunizations, permission forms, emergency consent forms). We provide care for any and all health problems of students, staff, faculty, and faculty children. We see things as minor as the common cold and cuts to major injuries and illnesses such as traumatic brain injury, compound fractures, pancreatitis. We teach classes in human development and anatomy and physiology. We also consult with faculty and parents for routine care as well as in emergency situations. As DavisII said, it's rewarding, sounds simple, but it can be stressful. It's a nice job, rarely a dull moment.
  6. by   schoolnurse
    Hi, before I was a school nurse I did hospital nursing, was an Air Force Nurse for three years and did private duty nursing. After not working for 8 years, I went into school nursing (which is what I wanted to do ever since I had a family). The hours are great, the setting is not as stressfull as in a hospital and the rewards are many. I chose the school setting because I wanted to be available for my own children should they need me. My principal knew that my family came first so if I did need to leave for the day, he was good about it. I practiced in Maryland where a licenced nurse had to be in each school by the year 2000. This meant that no new health aides would be hired. My days were from 8:30 to 3:30. Many school nurses also were asked to do additional dutie in the school setting. I explained to my principal that I was not an extra secretary but that I would be more than happy to help if my schedule allowed.
    Besides putting on bandaids, ice packs, heating packs, removing splinters, fixing glasses, sewing on buttons there are alot of hugs and love given. My kindergarten children mostly just needed a hug from me to know that everything would be alright. I loved the six years I put into that school. You have to keep up on immunizations, do vision and hearing testing, scoliosis testing, color blind testing and teach too. I had to do inservices for the staff on communicable diseases, sexual harrassment, signs and what to watch for in sexual abuse cases. I also worked closely with the counselor and other team members for special problems. I sat in on weekly meetings to address concerns that we had for students. My only negative comment was dealing with certain parents. I have been physically threatened by parents but my principal always stood by me. Good luck and go for it. Many rewards await you.
  7. by   sunny1973
    Nicola,

    I am a school nurse working in NYC under contract. If you are still trying to decide, e-mail me!
  8. by   Claudette
    Hi Nicola, I'm a school nurse in NYC, Brooklyn to be specific. A nurse in the school system is either employed by the Dept. of Health or the Board of Education. I work for the Board of Ed. The Board of Ed offers positions in Special Ed only, in my case I work in a program for students with autism. Due to certain recent policy changes within the BOE my population will include other disabilities if they need the services, or student to staff ratio we provide. Depending on the number of students, nursing staff may consist of one or more nurses. The pay, of course sucks, but the hours are good, you start when the teachers start and your day ends at 3PM. There are exceptions to this connected to busing hours and instructional breakfast times but I can let you know more if you are still interested. By the way NYC Board nurses work the summers, but you can earn up to 27 days vacation time a year, depending on lenght of service time. I can tell you where to apply and what you need. Claudette
  9. by   frann
    You'lll say the pay sucks. How bad does it suck? I'm thinking of going into school nurse. I'm a rn with 10 yrs experience in medical setting.
  10. by   Claudette
    Unfortunately I don't have a copy of our agreement with the Board of Ed, it's at work. What I can tell you right now is that I'm a nurse since 1980, my first job was with Kings County Hospital, a city run hospital so my time counted - Board of Ed checks are generated by NYC payroll - I have been with the Board for the past 16 yrs. so all told more then 20yrs. And with all that time I now make approximately $42,000 a year.
    Of course, salaries vary from city to city so you would have to contact the Nursing Office Supervisors or whoever hires and supervises nurses in the school setting. If you still want actual figures let me know and I'll find that info for you.
  11. by   frann
    42,000 divided by 180 school days=233/day
    divided by 7 hours/day=33$

    Is this figure right?
    Do you'll work 6,7,8 hours/day, 180 days/year?
    This sounds pretty good to me.
    Is the work very stressfull. Do you have a peaceful day?
    Is it as bad as the hospital?
    Do you'll have to work in the summer? Summer school?
    Do they take people part time/job-sharing?

    Thanks for any advice
    frann
  12. by   Claudette
    Sorry about the delay in answering you but I'm up to my eyebrows in term papers that I have to finish for my BSN classes. Yeah that's pretty much my salary. This is for more then 20 years experience and it's nowhere near what I could be making in a hospital or home care agency.
    Special Ed nurses, that is nurses who work for the Board of Ed work a 12 month year, we do not get the summers off, even if you managed to accumulate the vacation time, you are not supposed to take that much time in one chunck, it causes a problem with your status in the computer system--like maybe you'll come back and find out you're not on the payroll or something. The work day is 6 hours and 20 minutes, although you'll be expected to be on the job 5 mins. before the first bus arrives and stay until the last bus leaves--no problem, unless a bus breaks down and you're stuck until a replacement arrives. You get 30 minutes unpaid lunch a day but you must be available to staff and students for that 30 minutes. How hard you work depends on what kind of population you work with. I happen to work with students that are autistic as a primary diagnosis, lots of seizure disorders and an insulin dependent brittle diabetic. Kids are 12 to 21.
    The biggest problem is aggression and severe self injurious behavior.
    You get Easter week, Christmas week and mid-winter recess week off-- sorta like 3 extra weeks vacation. Are you planning on moving to NYC? Keep me informed.
  13. by   Claudette
    Oops! Didn't answer all your questions. Stressfull is a relative term, but yes it can be stressfull, mostly because you are pretty much on your own but we try to keep networks going. Oh now I can't remember what else you asked why don't you email me so we don't clog up the forum.
  14. by   Danielle4
    I really want to be a school nurse.

    First I am debating going to nursing school so I am not quite there yet.

    Can you tell me what I need to do to get there?
    Do you know of any resources in Arizona where I might be able to get a job?

    Will they hire new grads into the field of school nursing?

    I want to be able to do what I love to do I love science so I know I will love nursing and I love teaching. I would totally love working with kids. I would love to teach and nurse school kids through everything. I am so excited about it!

    I admire you all so much!!!!

    -Danielle

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Need insight, please