Too young to do school nursing?

  1. Hello,

    i am 22 years old and have been working in the Neuro ICU for 1 year now. I do not like my job- for many reasons. 12 hours are hard, I now have back pain, hospital politics, only 30 min break, psycho patients who yell, hit, and bite, code blues, ANXIETY. I want to get out so bad. I've applied to other departments such as post partum or NiCU but none are hiring right now.

    I got an offer for school nursing, and I'm unsure if I should take it. I don't make much now, so the pay decrease probably wouldn't effect me much.

    I don't mind being "bored". After the stress I deal with on a daily basis I need a break. It is so bad that I get anxious THINKING about going back to work. I get anxiety attacks the night before and now I'm in a depression because of it.

    i just don't want to make a mistake and regret leaving bedside. I think I might stay PRN at my unit to at least keep my foot in the door.

    What do you guys think? Should I take it? What is your experience with school nursing? Pros and cons?


    p.S- I don't have kids, it's just me and my husband
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  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   OldDude
    "Bored" is not a possibility...look at a school nurse clinic as a mini ER with no doctors, no assistants, no clerks, no other nurses...just you and you alone to make every decision related to every imaginable, some unimaginable, injury, illness, and physical or mental condition that walks, or is carried, into your clinic...all by yourself. Add parent and staff communication, immunization requirements, mandated screenings, documentation, other administration, etc. If your view of school nursing is "boring" you might want to do some more research. School nursing isn't for everyone. Personally, I prefer school nursing because I like the autonomy of only working with the 3 of us...me, myself and I. If I was forced to work at a hospital I'd quit nursing all together and try to get a job on one of the Bering Sea crab boats like on Deadliest Catch. Good Luck - keep us posted on what you decide to do.
  4. by   caliotter3
    For everything mentioned in the previous post, I would avoid school nursing at this time.
  5. by   Windchaser22
    Ditto what dude said. Additionally, school nursing is a specialty field of nursing. Try subbing first if you are interested in changing yours. Like all specialties check if additional credentials are needed in your state. Good luck.
  6. by   MinnesotaBeagle
    I concur with others that you should sub first. There's no way for us to know if it'll be good for you, because maybe being alone to make every decision could also give your anxiety. We are very limited in terms of what we can do as interventions:no oxygen to administer, no code cart, no senior nurses to ask question of (maybe a manager/director is available by phone, but maybe not).

    I'm almost never bored. Maybe there's still some school health offices that do no more than pass out band-aids, but here's a list of emergencies I've had this year: 3 students passed out from panic attacks, 3 students with severe enough seizures to call 911 and administer emergency medication, 5+ incidences with a schizophrenic student who stated the voices were telling her to jump, 1 911 call for a first-time asthma attack, multiple concussions from recess (admin and teachers let them run wild!), 1 911 call for a student who got her tongue stuck in a water bottle (call cancelled after I got it out, but it was swollen and purple! Scary!). This is in addition to routine care of diabetics, routine medications for ADHD and such, students who receive tube feedings, run-of-the-mill seizures and fractures, screenings of vision/hearing, approving medication orders, calling providers to clarify orders, evaluating students from a medical point of view for special education services and writing up reports, and of course documenting every last little thing I do, down to every last ice pack and band-aid. Still sound like a boring job?

    Edit: forgot to mention the kid who was allergic to peanuts who ate a peanut. That was also not boring! Darn field trips!!!
    Last edit by MinnesotaBeagle on Jul 18 : Reason: Peanuts!
  7. by   SullyRN
    Agree with above posters. I am rarely bored. When there aren't kids in my clinic I am doing charting or paperwork (immunization compliance, physicals, vision, dental, accident reports).

    The one thing I will add: the only thing I miss about my hospital job... is the 30 minute lunch break. Where I was hardly pulled out of except in a dire emergency (everything else could be covered by another nurse). During my school nursing lunch I am interrupted AT LEAST 4 times. At least. And that lunch takes about an hour to finish, and by then I've only eaten half and end up throwing the rest away because a kid came and hacked on it.

    That said. This job is the best decision I ever made and I am beyond thankful for it. It just seems that maybe you should try subbing for a year first to make sure it's the right thing for you, and so you can get a feel of what all we actually do.
  8. by   peacockblue
    No lunch break. Ever. I eat lunch with students in my office every day. Never bored either. Not the same stress as the hospital but stressful nonetheless. And the demeaning parents who call admin every time you don't treat Susie the way you think they should makes me more paranoid every year. Can't retire for 13 years but I can't wait.
  9. by   Kreed10
    Just wondering...have any of y'all worked in a hospital?
  10. by   OldDude
    Quote from Kreed10
    Just wondering...have any of y'all worked in a hospital?
    ????????? Seriously???????
  11. by   Kreed10
    I'm legitimately wondering... to see if anyone can lay out the differences..
  12. by   SullyRN
    I have. 6 years. And currently still do PRN.

    The stress is less (for me at least) but it's there in a different type of way. Sue-happy-media happy parents have principals and teachers afraid of not sending every little thing to the nurse. Things that take up unnecessary time that is need for your more serious students.

    In most cases you are THE ONLY medical professional in charge of over 500 kids. Some nurses are lucky and er a health aide. Most don't. This means you need to know your **** because there isn't anyone to ask (except the fine co-workers of AN). No charge nurse, no doctor. Just you. I don't have to deal with patient satisfaction scores which is nice...but a mad Momma doesn't leave an anonymous complaint-just sayin'-much worse.

    Most people think all we do is stick on band-aids, hand out ice packs and Saltines and cal it a day. In my district thee are students that have diabetes, seizures, severe asthma and allergies, trachs, g-tubes, students with muscular dystrophy who have no movement below their waist so you have to use a hoyer to change them. Not to mention your daily med kids which means most ADHD problems get sent to you.

    I don't think you were trying to belittle us school nurses but your original post talks about how you wouldn't mind being "bored" which put a bad taste in our mouths to begin with. Our jobs aren't easy. Just like your job isn't easy. They are both hard in their own ways.

    *Forgive typos-on the iPhone.
  13. by   lyrern
    I agree with Old Dude and Sully - completely, except I would not work on a crab boat. I worked 15 years total between Neonatal ICU and Pedi ICU prior to school nursing. Yes, those were stressful areas and I was never bored, but school nursing has its own unique stress, and I have never had a boring day. I also never have a lunch away from my desk. The one thing I miss about hospital nursing is having another nurse physically next to me to bounce thoughts off of. It is different being the only RN in a group of educators.

    Definitely sub first. School nursing is an excellent nursing field, but it is not for everyone.
  14. by   Windchaser22
    Some food for thought...we have "patients" who yell, hit, and bite too. We have students with anxiety, depression, PTSD, bi-polar, suicidal etc. etc. Psych is a major component of school nursing. You deal with these kids while you are handling everything else, by yourself. Additionally, we are responsible for every human on the premises not just the students. If anyone has an emergency it's on us to respond.
    The major difference is that on a unit you have help, supplies and when experienced, know what to anticipate. Everyone in a school looks to us when things go sideways. We school nurses can plan to a degree but rarely know what urgent issue is coming next.

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