School nursing for me ?

  1. Hello all!

    So I just put in an application for a school nursing position tonight and would welcome any feedback or insight! I've always had school nursing in the back of my mind as something I would like to eventually pursue. I have to admit that the primary draw is the schedule, although the idea of getting to hang out with kids all day is a close second. I also really love the idea of having a beginning and end to my work life each year.

    I've been a nurse for about 10 years, working in lots of different areas. Transplant nursing, pediatric CVICU, and now have been doing hospice nursing for the last 3 years. I have loved doing all of this, but have not always loved the stress. What I'm looking for now is a job that is sustainable and that I can envision myself doing in the longterm as I'm getting tired of switching jobs all the time. I really have no interest in going back to the hospital, and nothing will ever be sustainable for me with only 2 weeks of vacation per year.

    So I'm excited to give school nursing a try! A few things that give me pause however: The position is a pool job - being divided between several schools. I'm not sure how that works - if I would be visiting multiple school per day or different schools throughout the week. I also know from a teacher friend that most of the nurses that roll through the school district don't seem to stay a long time. I'm not sure if this has to do with budget cuts, unhappiness, pay or what? I see a lot of people on here that seem fed up with their jobs and who are considering going back to other facets of nursing in addition to those that seem to love it. This also concerns me. And lastly I have to say the pay will be hard to swallow, especially since in addition to a pay cut I'll also have to go back to school to get a school nursing credential if I want to do this longterm. I've seen the pay schedule and have a feeling that I would get no credit for my years of nursing experience having to start as a year 1 nurse with the school district making 1/2 of what I make now. I probably will look into working some per diem hospice shifts on the weekend to supplement as I'm not really interested in working my vacations if I take the position as it seems like this would defeat the purpose!

    Anyway sorry for the long rambling post but I'd really appreciate any advice or words of wisdom! Thanks so much!
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   Flare
    Contact some local districts and inquire about sub school nursing. You can do that on your off days and get somewhat of a feel for the job. If you decide to like it, then you can make further steps to pursue. The drop in salary tends to be a sticking point for a lot ob people, but when you consider that you usually work 180-185 days of 7-8 hours vs 250 days if you worked a 9-5 someplace. Plus, if you're in an area prone to snow, you get snow days and delays. The threat of snowing over at work is nil here.
  4. by   Farawyn
    Welcome.
    School Nursing is a great job, in that you aren't technically working with "patients", but mostly healthy students.
    The splitting of the schools would concern me. Would you have a para at the schools, and you are overseeing them? If they are unlicensed, then you are responsible for them.
    Most people leave SN due to $$$. We just do not get paid the same as hospital nurses, despite being responsible for upwards 500 kids, usually, but as Flare pointed out, there is loads of time off.

    I love it, but I miss the hospital.

    Good luck and keep us posted!
  5. by   dakotadenise
    Good luck with your application! I just wanted to add that not all nurses leave their jobs quickly or "roll through" the district. In my school, I replaced a nurse that had been here 18 years. The nurse before her I think was even longer, because no one working here even remembers anyone before her. I plan to stay here until retirement, fate willing, so I just may beat their record! So some positions are very sustainable!
  6. by   kidzcare
    Quote from dakotadenise
    I just wanted to add that not all nurses leave their jobs quickly or "roll through" the district. In my school, I replaced a nurse that had been here 18 years. The nurse before her I think was even longer, because no one working here even remembers anyone before her. I plan to stay here until retirement, fate willing, so I just may beat their record! So some positions are very sustainable!
    This will vary by district. A good working environment can keep people around a LONG time. The SNF I work at PRN is losing long term staff left and right after being sold a little over a year ago. People who have worked with the original owners (a family) for 10, 15, 20+ years have left because the new owners are most concerned with the bottom line and not the happiness of staff and good outcomes for patients (turns out patients who have enough staff to toilet them frequently, walk them, and turn them in a timely manner have better outcomes-- who coulda guessed???)


    Back to topic- I think the reason most nurses end up leaving school nursing is the pay. I could easily be making near double what I make now in an acute or subacute setting.
  7. by   AdobeRN
    I love being a school nurse and will be here until I retire at this point Yes, I could make alot more money in a hospital setting but I do love my time off & the work hours - I would not trade any of that for more money. I am fortunate to be on the teacher pay scale and the pay is spread out thru out the year - so I get a paycheck in the summer even though I am not "working". In our district pretty much everyone stays for awhile, we do not have a high turnover rate.

    Good Luck!
  8. by   OldDude
    If you need to your current salary you can easily maintain it working prn/pool/part time otherwise. The only way you are going to know if you like school nursing is to experience it so heed Flare's advise and look for sub opportunities. You have enough experience to do pediatric assessments so that really isn't an issue. School district policies are generally similar so that is something you'd learn once employed.

    Go for it and let us know how it goes!
  9. by   OldDude
    Quote from dakotadenise
    Good luck with your application! I just wanted to add that not all nurses leave their jobs quickly or "roll through" the district. In my school, I replaced a nurse that had been here 18 years. The nurse before her I think was even longer, because no one working here even remembers anyone before her. I plan to stay here until retirement, fate willing, so I just may beat their record! So some positions are very sustainable!
    Our head nurse retired after 55 years of school nursing. The nurse I replaced must have been about 137 years old.
  10. by   Flare
    I have been in school nursing for 15 years, before that did orthopedics and trauma unit. Though I have had a few venue changes. 16 years until the big R for me. I'm too settled in. Besides, when I get down on this, I calculate my hourly based on actual hours worked and find the in my case I think i'm making what I would at a hospital here. Just less hours - about 1270 vs about 1800 hours for 3 12's a week with 2 weeks of vacay or 2000 hrs for 5 8's.
  11. by   OldDude
    Quote from Flare
    I have been in school nursing for 15 years, before that did orthopedics and trauma unit. Though I have had a few venue changes. 16 years until the big R for me. I'm too settled in. Besides, when I get down on this, I calculate my hourly based on actual hours worked and find the in my case I think i'm making what I would at a hospital here. Just less hours - about 1270 vs about 1800 hours for 3 12's a week with 2 weeks of vacay or 2000 hrs for 5 8's.
    People don't believe me when I tell them school teachers make as much as nurses until I calculate out what teachers get paid for the hours they actually work. In Texas a school nurse (RN) is considered an educator and on the same rate scale as teachers.
  12. by   Flare
    we are too. I don't make a poor salary here in NJ -but then I'm pretty high on the pay guide by this point in my career. Districts may or may not give consideration to nursing experience by itself when determining place on the guide. Some give at least a little.
  13. by   kidzcare
    Quote from OldDude
    People don't believe me when I tell them school teachers make as much as nurses until I calculate out what teachers get paid for the hours they actually work. In Texas a school nurse (RN) is considered an educator and on the same rate scale as teachers.
    It is not the same in Illinois (unfortunately). If you are certified in school nursing (ie: pay $10000 for the certificate program) then you are on the same salary schedule as the teachers. Other than that, a first year nurse is paid (ie: valued) at 78% of what a first year teacher is (with no regard to educational level or experience)

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