I am a school nurse in Texas and I work at a large urban school district.
Nursing is a noble profession and nurses, in general, are widely respected. Except for school nurses. Many people have asked me, "So, you're an RN? That's great! What field do you work in?" When I tell them I am a school nurse they reply, "Oh," and look at me as though I've just run over their dog. A woman I knew once said to me, "School nurses are just "washed up" nurses who can't make it anywhere else." My own husband and children believe that all I do in the course of a school day is dispense band aids and ice packs, which couldn't be further from the truth!
I dispense caring and compassion as I care for a sick child whose parents can't (or don't want to) be reached to pick their child up. I dispense competence and confidence when I rely solely on my nursing judgment and critical thinking skills in an emergent situation - because there is no physician there to give me orders. I dispense conscience and comportment as I hold my tongue while I am being cursed at and threatened by an angry parent (which, by the way, happens frequently). Sister Roach's "Six C's of Nursing" were drilled into me in nursing school, and I have come to embrace them. Each morning on my way to work I ask God to help me embody the Six C's of Nursing.
I didn't become a school nurse for money or glory. I became a school nurse knowing I would gain neither. I simply answered a calling.
It would be wonderful if we were recognized and respected for everything we do - the special procedures that enable medically fragile and chronically ill children to attend school, acting as each child's health advocate, maintaining complicated health records, and that's just the tip of the iceberg! In reality, though, we are loved and respected by the only people who really matter; the children we take care of.
Dec 11, '12
"In the end, all that matters to me is that I am happy, healthy, have a roof over my head, and food in my belly. The career path I have chosen is a means to that end, and the fact that others cannot understand or respect that does not change how I feel at all."
I couldn't have said it any better!
I was a 32 year old, new grad RN, when I took my school nurse position last year. I toyed with the notion of going to work in a hospital, like all of my fellow nursing grad friends.... but I'm the one who has more balance in my life.... time for family, friends, MYSELF. I couldn't care less about the pay... I make enough to support myself and help my hubby (who's working full time and going through nursing school pre-reqs currently). Life is good.... I enjoy working in a small private school (96 students total) the kids are great, the school staff is nothing but respectful and supportive of a team environment... I like the challenge of learning new things - even the paperwork part of it (different kind of paperwork than hospitals)....I enjoy leaving at a decent time every day.... and I know that if I need to, I could get a second shift job. Having weekends and holidays off is practically unheard of for my friends working in hospitals.
I still get to use my nursing judgement, and make decisions based on it... and I get to educate the kids, which I really have a good time with.
There are days that I'm bored, but I am far more content here, and I'm not sure I can picture myself anywhere else right now.
Last edit by SchoolRNAmy on Dec 11, '12
: Reason: mental_block
I think we earn that respect in our communities...I live in a small town and am fortunate to be in a place where the school board and towns people really appreciate the role we play. We have had more than our fair share of sick, and I mean REALLY sick kids and we do become the person that people turn to in crisis.
I love my job and people know it!
Last edit by NutmeggeRN on Jan 2, '13
: Reason: wrong word