Career change, acute pedi to school nurse?

Specialties School


Specializes in Pediatrics, ER.

Hello all. A little background. I have two years of nursing experience, all of which has been in pediatrics. I've worked as a per diem charge nurse in a 12 bed inpatient pedi psych unit for the past two years, and 18 months mixed experience in acute pediatrics and a pediatric stepdown unit. I love my job, but due to shift work sleep disorder and worsening arrhythmias, I can no longer work the night shift. I've always been interested in school nursing, and I did my senior public health practicum in school nursing. I absolutely loved it (minus the lice outbreak) and could definitely see myself being happy as a school nurse while working per diem in my current unit to keep my clinical skills sharp. I have two interviews coming up this week, one for a substitute RN position and the other for a fulltime school nurse. The median pay for a FT school nurse where I live is $57,000/year, but I don't know what the experience level is. Most schools in my area require DESE certification within two years. I'm excited to interview, but part of me is feeling a sense of loss as I thought I'd be a hospital nurse forever. However, there's so many things about school nursing I've always loved...the inclusiveness of working in a school and being part of something bigger than yourself...knowing you're helping to make an impact on the future. I like the thought of taking part in school activities, of knowing you're "the" person kids go to when they need to feel better...whether their somatic complaints are visceral or internalized stress. I like knowing I have to stay on my toes, and the tremendous stress and responsibility of knowing your license is responsible for every single person at that school. This may sound crazy, but I enjoy being stressed out and I function better that way, which is why I thought I'd end up in an ER or ICU! Hopefully the craziness of caring for several hundred students will satiate me. What do you think? Could this be my forever career? Can anyone share interview experiences? What can I expect? Is there anything in particular I should ask about? Thanks in advance!

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health.

I started my career as a NICU nurse, convinced that I could never be satisfied with anything else. I loved the intensity, the technology, the adrenaline rushes, the "detective" aspect of being the first person to assess a new life, etc.

Fast forward many years. School nursing fit my family needs, so I did it. And I loved it. I can't ever imagine returning to the hospital setting, or wanting to, for that matter.

The pay you describe is good. If the job fits your needs, please give it a try. You have much to offer and I think you will find yourself challenged in ways you never dreamed possible!

You are not closing the door on hospital work, you are opening new ones with a knowledge base, skills and experiences you would not have the opportunity to gain in the hospital setting. You will be better for it.

Best of luck!

I agree with Jolie. School Nursing offers a tremendous opportunity to keep kids well and out of the hospital. You sound perfect for it, and I agree, the compensation is very good.

Good luck and let us know how the interview goes.

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