Struggling with poor pay and a love for School Nursing

  1. In my area of the state school nurses are extremely under paid. My particular school district is the worst of all the surrounding districts by thousands of dollars a year. We are $15,000-20,000 below the bottom of the pay scale for other Registered Nurses in the area, not working in the school setting. The nurses in my district have been advocating for better pay. I personally, fully support this effort. Lately though, I have been struggling with what I am going to do if the increase to the nursing pay scale is not approved by our school board. It has been turned down before.

    In my state nurses are not mandatory in schools, so districts have no incentive to make pay competitive or even on the same playing field. I am feeling very taken advantage of, in light of all that I have learned lately in preparation for advocating for better pay. I truly love my job. I have been a nurse for ten years and this has been my favorite place to work. Any advice on how to proceed?
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  2. Visit ANL6822 profile page

    About ANL6822, ADN

    Joined: Dec '17; Posts: 13; Likes: 30

    32 Comments

  3. by   OldDude
    If your district does adjust the salary it's likely the increase will be insignificant...otherwise they wouldn't be cheaping out like they are anyway. I'll bet the administrator salaries there are quite competitive. So, odds are you're gonna have to decide to live with the salary, supplement your income with part time work, or quit and move on to a higher paying position. Or if you're married, or have a significant other, have them get a second job to supplement the income. Or, if you're not married, try to snag a rich spouse!!! Only you can decide based on your financial and emotional position. Good Luck. Keep us informed.
  4. by   ANL6822
    My spouse's income is the only reason I have been able to stay for the last few years. We have seen the proposed increase. While it is not going to bring us up to the level of non-school RNs it will make us competitive with other school districts. It would be an increase of several thousand dollars a year. I ideally would like to be able to continue to advocate for better pay, professional status, and help with continuing education. Anyone else fought this battle in their districts?
  5. by   KKEGS
    Our district does pay for us to go to professional conferences in the same way they pay for teachers to go to professional conferences. I have the same contract that a teacher does so I am paid what a teacher would be paid and am part of the teacher's union and not a nursing union. My School Nurse License comes from the Department of Education so any advocating for better pay, etc. goes through the teacher's union. Without that I'm honestly not sure if I would gain better pay, support with continuing education, etc. because this is a whole different world than medicine/hospital nursing. They don't speak my language and just don't understand. Not to be a Debbie downer but I'm not sure what I could do to make them understand. We are aliens on their educational planet. I feel like I am respected by the staff and most of the administration but they still don't get what I do every day.
  6. by   OldDude
    But...on the flip side...you knew what the salary was and you agreed to it.
  7. by   SaltineQueen
    How are your benefits? My pay is nothing to brag about, but when you take into account that I pay almost nothing for pretty good insurance & I'm in the retirement fund it makes up for it.
  8. by   ANL6822
    Quote from OldDude
    But...on the flip side...you knew what the salary was and you agreed to it.
    You are right. When I took this position a few years ago I did agree to the pay rate knowing that I was taking a large pay cut. My motivations at the time and benefits to my family out weighed that one large negative issue.

    In recent weeks though, I have found out that I am paid less than all the other nurses in the district my thousands of dollars a year. This is where I am now finding it hard to remain content in my job. I want to see all of the nurses become better compensated, but if this increase doesn't pass I may have to move on.
  9. by   ANL6822
    Quote from SaltineQueen
    How are your benefits? My pay is nothing to brag about, but when you take into account that I pay almost nothing for pretty good insurance & I'm in the retirement fund it makes up for it.
    Benefits are not bad. We do have the option of health insurance and retirement. I personally am invested in the retirement, but not the insurance. My spouse carries the insurance. The insurance offered is good, but takes a large chunk of our already meager pay.
  10. by   OyWithThePoodles
    Quote from ANL6822
    You are right. When I took this position a few years ago I did agree to the pay rate knowing that I was taking a large pay cut. My motivations at the time and benefits to my family out weighed that one large negative issue.

    In recent weeks though, I have found out that I am paid less than all the other nurses in the district my thousands of dollars a year. This is where I am now finding it hard to remain content in my job. I want to see all of the nurses become better compensated, but if this increase doesn't pass I may have to move on.
    Why are you paid so much less? I would try to figure that out. Maybe you are entitled to a raise.
  11. by   OldDude
    Quote from ANL6822
    ... My motivations at the time and benefits to my family out weighed that one large negative issue.
    If this remains true today it is more valuable than words can illustrate. Your kids are only on loan from God and will be little only once; no do-overs. I know it's difficult to swallow the bitter pill of other nurses doing the same thing making more money than you, but really, it's not relevant to YOUR reality. The unhappiness you are experiencing is a product of your imagination. Your day to day life and environment would remain the same if other nurses in the area made more than you, were paid the same as you, or made less than you.

    I was born at night, but I wasn't born last night...so, I'm simply trying to offer you another perspective.
  12. by   Farawyn
    Quote from ANL6822
    My spouse's income is the only reason I have been able to stay for the last few years. We have seen the proposed increase. While it is not going to bring us up to the level of non-school RNs it will make us competitive with other school districts. It would be an increase of several thousand dollars a year. I ideally would like to be able to continue to advocate for better pay, professional status, and help with continuing education. Anyone else fought this battle in their districts?
    Yes. We got back pay and an increase, and are now paid OT for OT, and are paid 24 hours (with OT) for school trips that are overnight.
    Working on the CEUs.

    Still making crap pay, though.
  13. by   Farawyn
    Quote from OldDude
    If this remains true today it is more valuable than words can illustrate. Your kids are only on loan from God and will be little only once; no do-overs. I know it's difficult to swallow the bitter pill of other nurses doing the same thing making more money than you, but really, it's not relevant to YOUR reality. The unhappiness you are experiencing is a product of your imagination. Your day to day life and environment would remain the same if other nurses in the area made more than you, were paid the same as you, or made less than you.

    I was born at night, but I wasn't born last night...so, I'm simply trying to offer you another perspective.
  14. by   lifelearningrn
    At the district I am in the pay scale is the same as teachers. It is less than nurses salary, but I work in a school so I'm okay with a teachers salary (since we have similar educational requirements (min bachelor's degree, professional licensure or certification, etc.) It sounds to me that in your district, pay isn't on a firm scale. It may be time to discuss this with your admin or HR.

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