I left my job and feel lost.


I've been an RN for over a decade. The most recent four and a half years, I was a School Nurse - something I assumed would be temporary, but has turned out to be "my calling". Halfway through my fifth year, I felt that I was left without any option except to resign.

My coworkers, the parents and kids were fantastic. But Administration was not supportive. They refused to follow through with state immunization laws or the school board's own policy & procedures. This resulted in a slew of "non-compliant" immunizations, and children allowed back into the school after having just been diagnosed with illness such as Strep (without having been on abx for 24 hours OR asymptomatic). You will have to trust me that I worked tirelessly to promote adherence to laws and policies and would end up pleading with Administration to comply. But at the end of the day, I did not have the authority to "exclude" the kids from school (as was supposed to happen) until they were compliant.

The last straw was when a student with newly diagnosed severe allergies (to unknown triggers) went into anaphylaxis. I administered the Epipen, as well as supplemental O2 as the student's sat was in the low 80's. I immediately initiated our school's response system (school in medical lockdown, instructed the office to call 911 and request the Principal's presence). The short story is that the Principal "popped-in" a couple of times to ask if I "was sure that we needed an ambulance", but otherwise I was alone, without any assistance (lockdown happens to ensure that staff is on-hand to help). Additionally, my actions were seen as (exact quote) "jumping the gun" and needlessly requesting an ambulance.

So, I broke my yearly contract, gave them a one month notice, and resigned. I live in a very small community and the two local school systems work hand-in-hand. I fear I've become 'unhireable'. And I simply don't have the love for any other form of Nursing anymore. My husband works and we can afford for me to stay home for now. But I'm becoming very depressed. This job was a passion of mine - I truly felt like I made a difference.

Has anyone else been in a situation similar to this? Lost their love for Nursing? Any school Nurses out there have anything to add? I guess I'm a bit desperate to feel validated and supported. Where do I go from here?

Aunt Slappy

271 Posts

Specializes in hospice, LTC, public health, occupational health. Has 2 years experience.

Do they not understand what anaphylaxis is?

Specializes in Psychiatry, Community, Nurse Manager, hospice. Has 7 years experience.

I'm so terribly sorry this happened.

It sounds like the administration had denial and disrespect wrapped into one.

You saved that child's life.

I am not a school nurse, but I work outside the hospital with a lot of non nurses. Lots of people do not understand what nurses do. And lota of people outside of healthcare freeze in emergency situations.

The job was untenable. The administration simply would not allow you to do your work. Sometimes a principal or other boss just doesn't know what he doesn't know. Sometimes they are control freaks and can't let you do your job because they don't know how to do it themselves. I am going through that right now.

.Something else will open up for you.


110 Posts

Hi there! All is not lost. I have been in and out of nursing for decades. People really and truly have no idea what nurses do or why it's so stressful. I suggest you sign up to substitute teach if you can. Most states require a bachelor's degree, but some do not. You'll have to go and look and see what you need to do but it's usually pretty easy to get hired on as a substitute. You may have to go to the next district away from where you live so you don't run into tons of people you know, but it can be done. I did it for about 5 years! The working environment for teachers (as a sub) is really good. Everyone appreciates you! And you rarely have to do lesson planning. You will have to learn about classroom management which is different than nursing but you can do it! Much easier than nursing IMHO. And you do already have the school experience. You also could get a part time job as a parapro. But, if it were me, I'd just take a break from nursing for a while. Staying home all day is boring and depressing. Also IMHO.

Has 33 years experience.

Understand why you quit and understand why you are feeling lost. You were giving your all to that job.

Now, that passion has nowhere to go.

Take some time to reflect, relax and refresh. Thinking a county community health job could be a great fit for you.

Best wishes.


420 Posts

Maybe an admin could move this to the school nurse forum.

If you haven't been reading and/or posting over there, you should. Lots of support, hints, and tips for dealing with administration. Most of the nurses there have been in similar situations at one time or other.

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 10 years experience.

First of all, congrats to you on saving a kid's life! Pedi emergencies are absolutely terrifying and it sounds like you handled the situation perfectly. An ambulance is definitely necessary for a child with sats in the low 80s! What was the principal's plan? Send the kid back to class on oxygen and hope for the best?? Crazy. Great job. I also think public health or working at a community clinic would be a great fit for you. Do you have any interest in inpatient Peds? I know there is something out there for a passionate nurse like you! It sucks when our work is not appreciated but don't give up

You are someone outside of that (school nurse) role. Enjoy your time unemployed and look for work. You couldn't save city hall, it's okay. Try something else. Look online for nursing jobs you can do fully or partially from home. I was working prn and now I work full-time due to the job requirements. Part-time is not an option. Sometimes it's all or nothing. Enjoy your free time please.

KatiejonD, RN

50 Posts

Has 12 years experience.

They do. Each year I held an inservice that reviewed what anaphylaxis is, our current students that were diagnosed with it, and the appropriate reaction to it. It literally went like this: "if you suspect a diagnosed student is in anaphylaxis and I am not there - give the epipen, call 911 because if the effects of the epinephrine wear off we need to maintain their airway to avoid death, and call the parents to meet their child at the ER. Don't even question yourself". I did this 1:1 with the staff, they signed a document each year that their training was renewed, and the emergency care plans were given to each teacher for such life and death conditions. I'm not sure what else I could have included. A couple of years ago we also had a student go into sudden cardiac arrest (later determined from vfib) and myself and another RN from an adjoining school were able to resuscitate the child with CPR and the AED - we were never even thanked... even after the Cardiologist reached out to us.

KatiejonD, RN

50 Posts

Has 12 years experience.

Thank you. Simply hearing some kind words of support helps more than I can say.

KatiejonD, RN

50 Posts

Has 12 years experience.

Thank you for the support! It is so funny you say that - my husband is a teacher (in the school I left) and we talked about me applying to substitute teach, or sub-school nurse in another district - simply for my sanity and to keep feeling like I'm connected with the kids. He does come home and tell me that my former coworkers ask about me and say they "miss me" - and that helps a great deal. If you wouldn't mind answering this: when you left nursing for while, did you ever let your license lapse? Or would you work the minimum to maintain it?

KatiejonD, RN

50 Posts

Has 12 years experience.

"Now, that passion has nowhere to go" - that about sums it up! Thank you for your kindness.