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ED nurse to School Nurse

School   (891 Views | 22 Replies)

Tirednurseandmomma14 has 11 years experience as a BSN and specializes in ED, LTACH, Home care, Urgent Care.

244 Profile Views; 13 Posts

Hi, I am currently working as an ER nurse. I love what I do but with two little ones starting school soon I have thoughts of finding a position where I am more available to my children and where I get to work with children more consistently. I would want to stay on per diem at the hospital. I am wondering if anyone else has made this transition? Was it a huge pay cut? What has been the most difficult about being a school nurse? What do you love about it? There are job postings through staffing agencies and school districts-what is the difference? Any helpful advice making this transition is appreciated!

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kidzcare has 5 years experience.

3,367 Posts; 19,848 Profile Views

Come join us at the school nurse forum! It's under "Specialties" 

Generally speaking, the pay cut is significant. That is dependent on state and school district. 

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sirI has 30 years experience as a MSN, APRN, NP and specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

15 Followers; 19 Articles; 13,241 Posts; 139,474 Profile Views

Hello @Tirednurseandmomma14 and welcome to allnurses.com

We moved your thread to the School Nursing forum for the best response.

 

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40 Posts; 242 Profile Views

I came to school nursing from bedside oncology nursing.  The pay cut was significant but the trade off makes up for it.  I have decent hours, I adore the littlins that I care for, I have my evenings and weekends free, and a get a bonus 6 weeks off in the Summer.  I am paid a year round salary so it's doable.  Could I make double the money in the hospital picking up extra shifts, etc.? Sure.  But I'd be doing 12 hr shifts also.  This nurse is getting up in years, so not for me..

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k1p1ssk has 9 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in pediatrics.

378 Posts; 4,761 Profile Views

Before transitioning to school nursing I worked inpatient pedi for a major hospital in my area; The pay cut is big, but for the amount of time off I get (all holidays, weekends, plus around 9 weeks in the Summer) it's worth it. I'm also salaried with the option to have 26 equal paychecks through the Summer, so budgeting is easier. If I break down what I make salaried into an hourly rate, I make almost the equivalent to what I would be making working three 12's on days in the hospital, just less hours overall throughout the year.

I have a part-time weekend job at a boarding school health center, as well to supplement, which works out well. 

I'd encourage you to see if an area school will let you shadow, or try to work per-diem in the schools first before making the jump, just to see if you like it. 

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164 Posts; 983 Profile Views

I took a significant pay cut as well, but to have almost the same schedule as my kids is 100% worth it. But how significant is dependent on your school district. 

There is a lot of compliance paperwork (physicals, immunizations, etc) and other paperwork in general. Some days, I feel like that's all I do is paperwork. Your experience in the ER will help you a lot with triage, emergencies (although true emergencies are fairly rare), and management of chronic conditions. There are a lot of mental health issues, socioeconomic issues (depending on your area), parents that don't know how to parent or think the schools should be doing everything.

If you can find a job through a school district, that would be my personal choice. A lot of times (at least around here), schools use agencies when no one else wants the position and they are desperate. Plus, in a sense, you have multiple bosses (agency and administration) that may conflict in how they want things done leaving you stuck in the middle.  

I think everyone will answer this differently, but for me, the hardest thing about being a school nurse is that I don't feel like I use my nursing skills much. Oh, how I'd love to start another IV or draw blood again 🙂 BUT, if you're staying prn at the hospital, you will still utilize those skills. Also, you're surrounded by a bunch of people that don't think like nurses, so sometimes there's a lot of convincing and some frustration when you don't see eye to eye on health related subjects.

Again everyone will answer what they love the most differently. For me, the thing I love about it is the fact that I mostly have the same schedule as my kids. My husband works A LOT of hours, so I can be home for my kids. They don't have to go to a sitter after school, I can get them to practice and I don't miss any of their games. I'm not the "career driven" type (honestly, if I could be a stay at home mom, I would), so I'll do whatever I need to for work to ensure that I'm there to be with my kids as much as possible.

Keep us posted and let us know how things are going!! This forum is great for questions, stories, or a good vent session!

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SaltineQueen specializes in School Nurse, past Med Surge.

1 Follower; 881 Posts; 6,377 Profile Views

I will echo that the pay cut is significant but the perks are worth it.  To be on the same schedule as my kids, in the same building as my daughter, is priceless.  I'm going to cry at the end of this year because my baby will be moving on to the next building.  The adults (staff and parents) have been far more difficult than the kids for me.  And the worry about certain kids when school isn't in session.  Just about the time I feel like nothing else can surprise me, something else comes up.  Hospital nursing can be physically exhausting, but this job is emotionally exhausting.

I did not stay PRN anywhere because we're fortunate that my husband's job pays the bills.

Start subbing for schools around you to get a feel for the job and get your foot in the door.  I had subbed at the school my boys went to and the nurse there called me to let me know the job I currently have was opening up soon.  

Maybe you'll get lucky and you'll be in a district that puts you on the teacher pay scale.

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40 Posts; 242 Profile Views

40 minutes ago, ihavealltheice said:

you're surrounded by a bunch of people that don't think like nurses

So agree.  We really don't think like teachers/admin, and they don't think like us.  This thought will keep me up till 2 am for sure....

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Tirednurseandmomma14 has 11 years experience as a BSN and specializes in ED, LTACH, Home care, Urgent Care.

13 Posts; 244 Profile Views

Thank you everyone for your insight-I really appreciate it. I think it might be a good idea to either shadow a school nurse or become a sub. I've noticed while looking at positions that the most I have seen for pay is $26/hour (I'm in Minnesota). I currently make $42/hour so that is quite a difference. I'm appalled by how little the pay is for all you are accountable for. I also notice that 1:1 school nurses for special needs students is $33/hour. I'm not quite sure why such a different pay? The perks definitely are what I am looking for as the weekends/odd hours, long hours, and physical/mental exhaustion is real right now. Do you guys have health aides at your school? What do your retirement benefits look like? Thank you!

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209 Posts; 1,663 Profile Views

3 hours ago, ihavealltheice said:

I took a significant pay cut as well, but to have almost the same schedule as my kids is 100% worth it. But how significant is dependent on your school district. 

There is a lot of compliance paperwork (physicals, immunizations, etc) and other paperwork in general. Some days, I feel like that's all I do is paperwork. Your experience in the ER will help you a lot with triage, emergencies (although true emergencies are fairly rare), and management of chronic conditions. There are a lot of mental health issues, socioeconomic issues (depending on your area), parents that don't know how to parent or think the schools should be doing everything.

If you can find a job through a school district, that would be my personal choice. A lot of times (at least around here), schools use agencies when no one else wants the position and they are desperate. Plus, in a sense, you have multiple bosses (agency and administration) that may conflict in how they want things done leaving you stuck in the middle.  

I think everyone will answer this differently, but for me, the hardest thing about being a school nurse is that I don't feel like I use my nursing skills much. Oh, how I'd love to start another IV or draw blood again 🙂 BUT, if you're staying prn at the hospital, you will still utilize those skills. Also, you're surrounded by a bunch of people that don't think like nurses, so sometimes there's a lot of convincing and some frustration when you don't see eye to eye on health related subjects.

Again everyone will answer what they love the most differently. For me, the thing I love about it is the fact that I mostly have the same schedule as my kids. My husband works A LOT of hours, so I can be home for my kids. They don't have to go to a sitter after school, I can get them to practice and I don't miss any of their games. I'm not the "career driven" type (honestly, if I could be a stay at home mom, I would), so I'll do whatever I need to for work to ensure that I'm there to be with my kids as much as possible.

Keep us posted and let us know how things are going!! This forum is great for questions, stories, or a good vent session!

Pretty much all of this !  

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SaltineQueen specializes in School Nurse, past Med Surge.

1 Follower; 881 Posts; 6,377 Profile Views

18 hours ago, Tirednurseandmomma14 said:

 I'm not quite sure why such a different pay? 

You're dealing with school systems and we have NO money (well, a little money).  Often, 1:1 nurses are agency nurses and their pay is a little better.  At least in my area.

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SandIsMyGlitterRN has 20 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in School Nursing.

94 Posts; 403 Profile Views

Once I became certified as a school nurse my pay increase put me slightly under what I was making in the hospital.  It really depends on your district.  I factor in that I now have government retirement to look forward to as well as the amazing hours.  

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