Do You Like Being A School Nurse?

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Tina, RN

Tina, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, CM, School Nursing. Has 20 years experience. 513 Posts

tictac said:
This is my 4th year as a school nurse and I think it will be my last. I'm not sure if it's because of the environment I work in, the work itself, or a little of both. Our assistant principal is a micro-managing, administrative bully, and makes me (and everyone else) miserable. Our principal doesn't care about anything and never has your back when it comes to parent issues. I'm also tired of the silly things I deal with on a daily basis. I know teachers send them down to me because they have to cover their butts, but it's gotten so tiresome. It's as if kids aren't expected to experience discomfort of any sort and have no coping skills for things such as a common cold, old insect bite, or sore muscle. There is most definitely a need for school nurses, but I think the position is misunderstood and abused. I don't think switching schools will do me any good because I swear there is an overwhelming lack of common sense in a school setting. I just don't get it. I hate to admit it, but I'm just out of patience with this job and can't do it anymore. I hate to give up the schedule though. It can't be beat. I really wanted to stick it out until my kids are done with school, but I just can't. :(

I can absolutely relate to everything you mentioned. :( Sometimes, it is very hard to keep reminding myself of how lucky I was to land this job. LOL

Best of luck to you!

jk82

jk82

Specializes in Pediatrics. 53 Posts

What about missing events at your kids school like class parties and field trips because you have to be at your school all day? How does this work out? Does it bother you? I have an opportunity to work at a school but could not send my kids to the school with me...there are no benefits to the job such as sick or vacation time.....

Nurse ABC

Nurse ABC

Has 14 years experience. 437 Posts

We have personal days we're allowed to take off during the year for any reason we want. We get full benefits including sick time, health insurance, retirement, etc. We don't get vacation time since we're off all summer and a week at each holiday but if we were to accrue our personal days we could use those for a week off during the year.

jollyapple

jollyapple

2 Posts

bell1962 said:
I like it for the most part. But I work in a school for kids with special needs. We have kids with autism, kids with severe emotional needs and behavioral problems. Our building has students from kindergarten through high school. It can make for some interesting days! The pay is terrible but the schedule and retirement plan are great!

Bell 1962--I will be interviewing for a school like that this Friday. I was wondering if you could give me any tips or ideas of what your typical day is like??

Thanks so much!

bell1962

bell1962

Specializes in family practice and school nursing. Has 30 plus years experience. 345 Posts

lfulton55

There really is no typical day! Flexibility is really important.. you never know what will happen next. You also need good assessment skills as the kids I work with cannot always articulate what is wrong. First thing in the morning is busy with kids coming in with various "boo-boo's" that occured at home, some meds, and illnesses,etc. Then typically there is a little lull late morning. Lunchtime is usually pretty busy with a lot of meds and sometimes tube feedings. Things then quiet down for a bit until later in the day when the kids get a little "wound up" and are ready to leave. The most important qualities, in addition to the ones mentioned above, would be the ability to work with a wide variety of people, to be patient, to be organized, and to have a sense of humor! Good luck on your interview. Let us know how it goes.

jollyapple

jollyapple

2 Posts

Thank you so much-- I appreciate the advice! I will let you know how it goes :)

jk82

jk82

Specializes in Pediatrics. 53 Posts

I have a job offer at a school but the pay is low and there are no benefits/ no paid days off etc., My kids cannot go to the school with me either. I'm a little concerned that I will miss out events for my own kids- preschool aged and toddler., but in the long run it might be good to be on a similar schedule and School jobs are hard to fInd in my area....It's an hourly job not salaried so no pay over breaks and summer. Do you LOVE school nursing? What are the pros that you think outweigh the low pay and no benefits ?

Nurse ABC

Nurse ABC

Has 14 years experience. 437 Posts

Wow-no benefits AND low pay?!? How could you pass that up?!? ;) We get great benefits. We aren't technically paid for our summers either. We are contacted for 200 days but they spread our pay out over 12 months if we want. Your job offer sounds more like what our subs get. The pros would depend on your situation more than anything. Do you have a job now, how well is it working for you, do you have benefits now, will this job be enough money to make it, etc. You could work part-time or per diem until all your kids get in school and probably make more money and be able to be home more for your little ones. School nursing is a job and all jobs have their degree of stressors. It's not a perfect job but it'd less stress. Good luck on your decision.

jk82

jk82

Specializes in Pediatrics. 53 Posts

I am trying to negotiate an hourly pay...what is typical for school nurses...with NO benefits?! I make almost $36/hr with benefits at the hospital... I know I will take a paycut I just can't go as low as $25

tmjRN

tmjRN

9 Posts

Pay varies by locale. The DC area pays very well. Base pay is just as much if not more than in the hospital. In DC, the school nurses in the public schools are hired by the Children's hospital. In northern Virginia (Fairfax and Arlington) you're hired through the county governments. Same is true in Montgomery County, Maryland. Other counties in this area hire through the public school systems. I'm not sure what they pay in public schools here, but imagine that they have to compete with what Children's and the local county governments pay.

It ends up being a pay cut if you work a lot of overtime in the hospitals (because there is little to no overtime in school health). Also if you work in 10 month position (some are 12 month), you make 2 months less salary. Some nurses work per diem in the hospital to make up for this or summer school/camp to make up for the pay difference.

I find it to be much better quality of life than in the hospital and that is priceless in and of itself.

Other specialities that have more autonomy and better work schedules than the hospital are case management, home health, public health nursing.

Hope this helps!

ShelbyaStar

468 Posts

This thread has been really helpful to read through. I'm interested for many reasons listed- time for family, loving kids, enjoying autonomy and lower stress, plus my husband is a teacher so it would be wonderful to share his schedule as well!

I'm wondering what a typical background is for a school nurse. I am entering nursing school in the spring, first for my ADN and then will most likely go on for a BSN. I know most fields are really pushing for BSN, but it seems like a lot of places (like the group home I currently work at) are still all about hiring LPNs and ADNs, so is it possible to be overqualified? Doesn't sound like it- sounds like districts do value education and experience- but I want to check in on that. Are there any other certifications that are often sought after?

Nurse ABC

Nurse ABC

Has 14 years experience. 437 Posts

In our district we are required to have a BSN and obtain our school nurse certification. Never known anyone to be considered over-qualified to be hired. They encourage staff to get Master's degrees and National school nurse certification ( on top of regular school nurse certification). They also require 2 yrs experience as school nurses are the only medical person in the building and the only one there for all medical emergencies until paramedics arrive if needed so they prefer someone who has either ER, peds, ICU, or med-surg experience.