I have been a RN for 6 years and this is my first year being a school nurse. I work at a high school with approximately 1100 students. I thought from my experience as a Public Health Nurse that school nursing would be a great change of pace for me with a familiarity of providing community based nursing care in a clinical setting.
(I have also worked in the hospital setting-weekends, holiday, nights).
One positive thing I can say about my job that I love would be my hours, the fact that I don't have to work weekends or holidays and summers off WITH pay because even though I only work 10 months, I did a 12 month contract that stretches my pay over the course of a year. I mainly took the job because my 5 y.o. was starting kindergarten and I wanted to be on the same schedule as him...my older two children (ages 12 and 16) had to endure my crazy work hours when they were younger, so I wanted to try something different.
I have come to the realization that this is NOT the job for me and I will NOT be returning next school year. The high school kids have attitudes, drama, and EVERY excuse to come to the clinic to go home because they don't want to be at school. I don't feel like I do a lot of nursing stuff especially now that the vision/hearing screenings are over as well as the seasonal and H1N1 flu clinics we had at the school. I do get the respect from the teachers, students and administration in regards to my nursing expertise, but I do get peeved by a lot of things.
A teacher sent a student down for a toothache and told the student I could possibly recommend a dentist (the same thing the teacher could've done), but I politely told the student that I was not in a position to recommend a dentist because if something went wrong with that dentist, I was not going to be accoutable. I told the student that there were a list of dentist in the phonebook....pick one! A senior student wanted me to put his contacts in his eyes. I told him that was not my job and he should have not bought the contacts if he was not capable of putting them in his eyes. And lets not forget about the old monthly "friend" that visits the females every month. I tell the girls that they are going to be dealing with periods for the next 40 years or so and they need to adapt. Your employer will NOT send you home every month because of cramps nor will your employer supply you with maxi pads. I am NOT a dispenser and what I have in the clinic are for emergencies, not convenience. These girls should always have an extra pad/tampon in their purse, locker, bookbag because you just never know when that "friend" will come early. I try to have compassion for the kids, but they are in HIGH SCHOOL...they are mini adults and I refuse to baby them along. And let's not talk about the parents who refuse to pick up their kids who are sick (fever, vomiting, diarrhea). I am sorry but if your child is that sick, they can not remain in the clinic, YOU are the parent and it's YOUR responsibility to pick up YOUR child. I would hate to get Social Services involved because you are neglecting your child.
I am not a 1)social worker 2) cafeteria because you forgot your lunch money and you are hungry or because you didn't eat breakfast 3) drug store for deodorant or lotion that you failed to put on 4) clothing store because you forgot your belt or your shirt does not meet dress code compliance 5) or your friend (I am an adult, you are a teenager-we have NOTHING in common)...I am there to provide nursing care as needed during the school day so that you, the student, can continue to be successful and remain at school during the day and attend all of your classes.
Hope I didn't sound harsh, but I am just speaking the truth. I think the nurses that work in the elementary and/or middle school level might feel a little more appreciation for what you do and your tolerance/patience may be better. But when dealing with teenagers that are in high school..it's a whole different world.