Next steps in nursing career after BSN

  1. Hello school nurses! I am currently an RN working in pedi home health. I'm working on my BSN, and thinking about possibly going into school nursing after that. I have not worked in the hospital before, and was wondering if that would be a hindrance down the line in my career. For example, how difficult would it be to get into a hospital if I wanted to change paths? I've also thought about doing prn shifts at a hospital over the summer to get some hospital experience in.

    I'm also considering getting into public health later on down the line. I know school nursing is somewhat considered public health.

    I know there are lots of posts on this forum about pros and cons of school nursing. And I've talked with the school nurse here at my patient's school to get some input. I'm just looking for as much input as possible before I finish my BSN.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   palli
    Being honest here, school nursing is not for everyone. Should you get your BSN anyway,, yes...but you should see if you like school nursing first by offering to become a sub rn in a district, but keep in mind being the sub you are there to really take care of any emergencies you will not be doing the day to day chores/paperwork crap that comes along with it (and every other nursing position.)
    Im not really sure about it being similiar to public health because there is so much more involved,
    but with that said, do I like weekends off, yes, my summers off, yes..the pay..NOPE. so there are trade offs.
    Good luck with your decision,,just get your BSN because you pretty much need it for any position now
  4. by   Meerkats
    Than you for responding. Another plus for me would be weekends and holidays off. I have a high school kid and a middle school kid. So getting that time off with them while they still want mom around would be cool.
  5. by   WineRN
    It sounds like you still have some soul searching to do.

    If you do want to eventually end up in the hospital, school nursing is not the path to get you there. If you like public/community health, school nursing is a great place to start because in some cases you are the only medical professional that a family sees on a regular basis.

    I agree with the previous poster, school nursing is not for everyone. I was lucky to spend time both in nursing school and time as a sub before I made the jump to full time school nursing. And even then there was still a learning curve because there is just so much to the role.

    If possible I would try to get PRN in a hospital and get on a sub list for a local district so you get a taste of both worlds.
  6. by   JenTheSchoolRN
    Getting your feet wet as a sub is a great way to see if school nursing is for you. I did this and fell in love. But I was an odd duck in nursing school - I hated hospital work and entered nursing as a second career specifically to work in community and preventive health care.

    I love my schedule. Paycheck is okay, but I am in a state where school nurses get paid better than other states, I think. (I still make much, much less than I could in a hospital in my state).
  7. by   Meerkats
    Quote from WineRN
    It sounds like you still have some soul searching to do.

    If you do want to eventually end up in the hospital, school nursing is not the path to get you there. If you like public/community health, school nursing is a great place to start because in some cases you are the only medical professional that a family sees on a regular basis.

    I agree with the previous poster, school nursing is not for everyone. I was lucky to spend time both in nursing school and time as a sub before I made the jump to full time school nursing. And even then there was still a learning curve because there is just so much to the role.

    If possible I would try to get PRN in a hospital and get on a sub list for a local district so you get a taste of both worlds.
    This is a great idea. I will see if I can get a prn hospital gig after my BSN. I believe I can be a substitute school nurse even with my ADN. I'll try to get in to do both.

    And yes, I do have some soul searching to do. I went into nursing school thinking I'd absolutely love L&D, and I did love the clinicals for the most part. But I got into pedi after graduating, and I want to stay around kids if possible.
  8. by   GdBSN
    Quote from Jen-Elizabeth
    But I was an odd duck in nursing school - I hated hospital work and entered nursing as a second career specifically to work in community and preventive health care.
    This is me also. I entered nursing to work in preventive healthcare, and after my community class decided school nursing is what I wanted to do. Hated the hospital, worked there 3 months, and then worked home health and LTC until I met the experience requirements for school nursing.

    SO yes, it can be done, but I feel it would be difficult to go to hospital nursing later on. You will no longer be considered a recent grad, but yet you have no hospital experience that will assist you in getting an interview.
  9. by   KeeperOfTheIceRN
    Even in nursing school I was warned that most nurses don't take well to those that have been nurses for a while but have no bedside/hospital experience. I was told their tolerance was super super low and made for a bad experience for those who chose to go that route. With that being said, I still knew that SN was what I wanted to do even before I graduated. Still, I did 2 years bedside on an IMC unit just to have the experience. I'm not gonna lie, it was the LONGEST 2 years of my life! The hours SUCKED and the staffing ratio was AWFUL (kind of like most other places). But I still feel a great sense of loyalty to my old unit. I absolutely loved the people I worked with I agree with what others have said, though. Getting a sub spot would be a great idea to not only see if you'd even like the position, but to also get your foot in the door. Good luck with your schooling though! I hope you find a position that fits you perfectly!
  10. by   OldDude
    All excellent advise. The main thing that makes a successful school nurse is the desire and ability to work alone. Make all the decisions independently, be a self starter, problem solver, self critical, and have the ability to set boundaries with students, staff, and parents, and be consistent - whether it's popular or not. If this sound like you, make a run for it.
  11. by   Meerkats
    Quote from OldDude
    All excellent advise. The main thing that makes a successful school nurse is the desire and ability to work alone. Make all the decisions independently, be a self starter, problem solver, self critical, and have the ability to set boundaries with students, staff, and parents, and be consistent - whether it's popular or not. If this sound like you, make a run for it.
    Thanks! I'd be ok with making all those decisions if I had more confidence in my abilities. Honestly, after reading these answers, I think I am going to go the hospital route for a couple of years first. I want to have a solid skill set before going into a position where I am the last stop (so to speak).

    I appreciate all the feedback!
  12. by   hope4673
    I am currently a school nurse. I am only 27 and am the youngest on my team by almost 10 years. I didn't get 10+ years of experience elsewhere. So I can give you that perspective.

    After nursing school, I worked 2 years on a med/surg-telemetry unit and hated every moment of it. I quit my job to work at a summer camp and realized I want to do something full time very similar to this. I applied to be a sub and didn't realize it was a school private duty nurse. Loved it. I worked at an outdoor education program as a nurse. Loved it even more. I subbed in another school system and worked in a all levels and also with special needs. After subbing, I finally got my 1st full time school nurse job as a special needs nurse.

    My suggestion to you is to sub because you will not get a full time school nurse job right away.

    School nursing is a lot of paperwork (but what nursing job isn't?). There is a tendency for people to put them down. Don't believe it for a second. There are so many children with chronic health issues nowadays, diabetes, asthma, seizures etc. You will learn a wide variety of care. If you are interested, I highly recommend working with the special needs population. You will get your G-tubes, Trachs, & other special procedures. And the kids are super cute. Another thing, think about your coworkers and health issues. Since Sept in my school district, we've sent 3 workers out by 911 for strokes. And that's only the beginning. Things happen all the time in the school and you never know what will happen.

    The best part? You can work at summer camp as a nurse in the summer!

    School nursing isn't for everyone but definitely check it out if you think you'd be interested.

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