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JenApos JenApos (Member)

Help Please!

School   (2,135 Views 35 Comments)
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You are reading page 3 of Help Please!. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

While I have not worked as a school nurse or in oncology, I have worked in many different positions over the last ten years. I have taken jobs for the experience, commute and pay rate. My advice for you is to take the position that works best for your family and gives you the most joy. You will never regret that! : )

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Hello Everyone,

I need some advice from fellow nurses. I have been a nurse for 4 years. I was on a med surg/onc floor for 3.5 years. I just recently transferred within my hospital organization to a med surg tele floor at one of our sister hospitals closer to home. I cut my commute from 45+ minutes to now 10 minutes from home. Since I became a nurse I always wanted to focus on oncology or school nursing. Those are my passions. After almost four years of bedside nursing I'm ready for a change. I don't enjoy my job and don't feel a passion for bedside nursing. I feel anxiety about work, and dread going.

Im at point where I'm going back and fourth on what I should do. School nursing or outpatient oncology/infusion. Both have pros and cons. The school nursing con is I would take a huge pay cut, and would be back to commuting. $30,000 less a year. Yikes. But the perks are more time with my kids, being able to get to my sons games, summers off, holidays and weekends off, working with kids and making a difference. Infusion perks: passionate about oncology, no weekends, no nights or holidays, $6 more an hour than what I currently make. Both of these positions are monday thru friday and both have about 40-60 commute.

I'd love to hear input from school nurses.

1)What do you like/dislike about school nursing?

2) Tell me what is a typical day like?

3) What is something you wish you would have known before becoming a school nurse?

4) Last but not least...what would you do if you were me?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

For me, the only real benefits of school nursing are the ones you spoke of. Don't get me wrong, the kids are great. Great little entertainers and a truly fun vibe... But it's not them that make your life hell. Parents and teachers... Teachers with a foot long rod up their asses and parents who are looking for any reason to attack. Rarely did I leave work feeling I'd ever made a difference.

My vote is Oncology.

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Thank you everyone for your honest feedback. This helps a lot. I think the suggestion of talking to a nurse in the district is a great idea. From what I understand it is a position that travels between schools in the district, not based at just one school. I never thought of the fact of how lonely it might get at times being the only health professional in the building.

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School nurses/teachers in my area (maybe the whole state, I don't know?) do not contribute to social security, so if you are retirement planning that is a consideration.

Whaaa-? :confused:

How the heck does that work....?

Everywhere I've worked it's been an automatic deduction-- except where I was an independent contractor, and then I still had to contribute- but it was figured in with my income taxes, and I was responsible for both my 1/2 and the 1/2 that's normally paid by the employer.

So I really don't get this...

Sorry for the mini-hijack, OP....

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Whaaa-? :confused:

How the heck does that work....?

Everywhere I've worked it's been an automatic deduction-- except where I was an independent contractor, and then I still had to contribute- but it was figured in with my income taxes, and I was responsible for both my 1/2 and the 1/2 that's normally paid by the employer.

So I really don't get this...

Sorry for the mini-hijack, OP....

In Texas, they use their own retirement system rather than contributing to SS. So we still have a fund we contribute to, it's just not SS.

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Thank you everyone for your honest feedback. This helps a lot. I think the suggestion of talking to a nurse in the district is a great idea. From what I understand it is a position that travels between schools in the district, not based at just one school. I never thought of the fact of how lonely it might get at times being the only health professional in the building.

Knowing you'll be traveling between schools, I would do your research first. How many schools? How many students? Are there health aides that maintain the health offices of the schools that you will be responsible for or would it be any of the secretaries who are already bombarded with a ton of stuff? Who would take responsibility to handle an emergency situation and you weren't in the building? Know your Nurse Practice Act and what you can and cannot delegate to unlicensed personnel and be confident to stand your ground. I am in a position where I travel between and am responsible for 2 schools. There are times where I am put in uncomfortable situations or putting out fires at the the other school I'm not at. I'm not saying don't explore it or don't completely write it off, just make sure you do your research and know what you're getting into before you make your decision. Talking to or (even better) shadowing one of the other nurses in the district would be a great idea.

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1)What do you like/dislike about school nursing?

I love the hours and time off. I love my school and working with the kids. I have high school and pre school!

2) Tell me what is a typical day like?

a lot of cough/cold/flu stuff. Occasional injuries, med pass once a day

3) What is something you wish you would have known before becoming a school nurse?

how truly on your own you are

4) Last but not least...what would you do if you were me?

If you can afford it, go for it. I also took a 30,00/year pay cut but it allowed me to be with my son when he was home from school. Also the time off and health insurance are amazing.

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I'm not a school nurse or an oncology nurse so I really can't weigh in on the pros and cons of either so I won't even try. For me the choice would boil down to a few factors. Money is a big one, a $30,000/year pay cut seems pretty extreme. That much of a pay cut could seriously impact your lifestyle, can you afford that? If the money truly isn't an issue then look at other things that will impact your decision. They are both M-F jobs though the school nurse position allows much longer "holidays" and would ensure you are on roughly the same schedule as your kids. Plus you could add to your income by picking up per diem hours or a summer job elsewhere. If the commute is roughly the same that might not factor in, but then it still might. Sounds like the school nurse job would require some commute between schools, plus with that job you'd have to become familiar with several settings instead of just doing your job in one place. The last and probably most significant factor beyond money though has to be overall job satisfaction. After weighing all your personal pros and cons between the two take whichever one will make you more happy in the long run.

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In Texas, they use their own retirement system rather than contributing to SS. So we still have a fund we contribute to, it's just not SS.

Ahh... I never realized the federal Gov't allowed that.

Thanks for explaining.

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I have worked in oncology for a year and as a school nurse for many years. I felt much more fulfilled working with the cancer patients-I'm not going to lie! I also have had three schools at once for a couple years, then two schools sometimes and now just one. The advantage to more than one school is they sure appreciate you a lot more when you aren't there every day to handle all the problems! Plus you don't get as involved in the office politics. The bad is because you aren't there as much you kind of feel left out and not really a big part of the staff. And you can get called back and forth with so called emergencies that are rarely a true emergency but you don't find that out until you go because you are dealing with TEACHERS who blow all the wrong things out of proportion!

So I love the fact I am basically my own boss. On the flip side I miss working together with other nurses all day long as a team but then there were those who never pulled their weight so...I love love love my summers off. I have never worked another job over the summer to make ends meet (when I was full time). If I had to do that I would just find another job. You see I don't prefer working five 8's because I feel like I'm ALWAYS working. But I do love being home in the evenings with my kids. And the holidays. And the snow days. And the summers. Did I mention that? ;) Remember that feeling of excitement you got as a kid on the last day of school? That's me! So if I couldn't have my summers off I would just go back to the 12's. My job is super easy. I see 12 kids a day for scheduled meds and blood sugar checks, anywhere from 5-15 kids a day for things like illness, first aide, or some imaginary problem and the rest of the time is computer work, putting out mini fires, and all that other stuff everyone has already mentioned. I have a lot of down time a day. I enjoyed my inpatient jobs more but the pace is exhausting so now that my kids are all older and I only have one left in high school to graduate I am going back and forth on returning to inpatient care but you see now I'm much older and am not sure I can keep up with that pace esp with my autoimmune issues. I can see myself physically being able to do this job until I retire. So no I don't enjoy it as much but I do enjoy it for the most part and all those other things everyone else doesn't like I second! But they aren't deal breakers. I'm never stressed the night before work. I rarely think about work once I leave for the day unless something funny or unusual happened. I work 7 hrs and 45 min and haven't had to work over more than a few times in 16 years. I never get called in to work and I always get my lunch. To me I have a much better, less stressful work life balance even though I don't love the job quite as much. There's so much more to life than just your job. You will never regret being there more for your kids if you can and these years will be behind you in the blink of an eye.

However, the oncology job also sounds like a good job with good hours and you can still be there a lot for your kids if you decide to go that route. Only you can decide which job and lifestyle will make you the happiest!

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In Texas, they use their own retirement system rather than contributing to SS. So we still have a fund we contribute to, it's just not SS.

I give to both...in the long run I'll be happy, in the short term...I work two jobs!!

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