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Love school nursing, but can't pay my bills.

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jupitercrash is a LPN and specializes in School Nursing.

711 Profile Views; 18 Posts

LPN working through agency. School has me come in for 4 hours a day to deal with all the daily meds and recess injuries. Just did the math and after taxes I am making like $11 an hour this month. I made more as an aide. Kind of feel like I'm wasting my nursing license... I LOVE school health. It was my favorite in clinicals, I took this job fir the experience to hopefully get into something full time next school year, but idk if I can afford to ride it out. Oh and the school is a 45 minute drive from my house. I knew this job didn't pay very well when I accepted it ($17/h) but because of the pay schedule I get paid the same amount twice each month (for 10 months a year) and at the end any days I have missed come out of the last pay check. I am starting to just think nursing isn't for me. I can either get a job I hate that pays well or a job I love where I can't afford to pay my bills. And I am apprehensive to go back for my RN when I hated bedside nursing so much. I am just feeling kind of lost in this profession. I've been thinking of picking up a pediatric home health gig on the side but the best part of this job is having nights and weekends with my kids and I dont want to give that up either. Plus then I'd need childcare. I don't know why I am posting this, but I needed to get it out. 

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

343 Posts; 4,633 Profile Views

School nursing comes with some great benefits, but also some sacrifices; I hear your frustration with the pay; I think that is generally the number one sacrifice we make.
From my perspective, if you love it (as many of us do), you do what you need to do to make it work, but recognize when you need to move along. Don't forget, peds in general is a much different animal than adult med-surg; I really didn't like bedside nursing either, but I knew (for at least my area) that without some inpatient experience, school nursing would be unattainable, so I managed to get in on a pediatric unit and I, for the most part, really loved it!

So I guess, you really need to decide if school nursing is the only way you'll be happy as a nurse, and if so, what immediate sacrifices are you willing to make in order to make that happen. I don't know where you're located, but many states require an RN to be FT and often even a BSN. If I were you, I'd go back for my RN - It'l be a slog, but you'll be in a much better position to apply for FT school nurse positions at that point.

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100 Posts; 656 Profile Views

Wow. I said it in an earlier post and I'll say it again...the amount that they pay some school nurses is an insult. It's an insult to our skill set and our profession. I'm sorry that you're in this situation. Can you look elsewhere? Is anyone else hiring? I would definitely go for your RN. Yes, it's a pain, but it will open many more doors for you in the nursing world. Good luck ❤️

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jupitercrash is a LPN and specializes in School Nursing.

18 Posts; 711 Profile Views

6 minutes ago, k1p1ssk said:

School nursing comes with some great benefits, but also some sacrifices; I hear your frustration with the pay; I think that is generally the number one sacrifice we make.
From my perspective, if you love it (as many of us do), you do what you need to do to make it work, but recognize when you need to move along. Don't forget, peds in general is a much different animal than adult med-surg; I really didn't like bedside nursing either, but I knew (for at least my area) that without some inpatient experience, school nursing would be unattainable, so I managed to get in on a pediatric unit and I, for the most part, really loved it!

So I guess, you really need to decide if school nursing is the only way you'll be happy as a nurse, and if so, what immediate sacrifices are you willing to make in order to make that happen. I don't know where you're located, but many states require an RN to be FT and often even a BSN. If I were you, I'd go back for my RN - It'l be a slog, but you'll be in a much better position to apply for FT school nurse positions at that point.

I can be fulltime, but would have a district nurse over me. That seems to be the way most districts do it in this area. Definitely a lot to think about. 

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

6 Followers; 13,247 Posts; 59,369 Profile Views

It sounds in your original post that you only work 10 months per year.   Could you get some other type of job for the 2 months that you don't currently work?   That would raise your yearly income.

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35 Posts; 2,019 Profile Views

What about working in an infusion/hydration center? There are some nurses that do that part time and make decent money (although I'm not sure how much exactly).

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MHDNURSE has 21 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Pediatrics, Community, and School Health.

1,356 Posts; 12,850 Profile Views

It's definitely a sacrifice but I am 100% a promoter of "mental well being and quality of life over money".  I see SO MANY posts, especially over on the General Boards where nurses are complaining about anxiety, depression, sleep issues, no time for anything else, etc., etc., etc.  I think if you really enjoy it, maybe start by looking at your spending habits and see if there is anywhere you can cut back.  My sister just accepted a job that pays $15K LESS than she was making, BUT she was working three jobs, was a basket case all the time, had no life and was miserable.  She is now working a normal 40 hour work week and even after the first two weeks is a completely different person.  She stopped her daily Starbucks run to save money and in two weeks has saved $50 and has lost 8 pounds!!  She also realized she never watches TV and cut her cable to the very basic- saving another $100/month.  Little things add up.  Can you see where you can make some cuts like above?  What about working in the Summer months to make extra?  If you really love it I suggest finding ways to make it work.

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meanmaryjean has 40 years experience as a DNP, RN and specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia.

3 Followers; 7,569 Posts; 65,463 Profile Views

You only work part-time? No wonder you are having trouble making ends meet. 

Seems kinda obvious the solution here...

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beachynurse has 35 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in School Nursing.

139 Posts; 1,257 Profile Views

On 1/6/2020 at 12:08 PM, k1p1ssk said:

School nursing comes with some great benefits, but also some sacrifices; I hear your frustration with the pay; I think that is generally the number one sacrifice we make.
From my perspective, if you love it (as many of us do), you do what you need to do to make it work, but recognize when you need to move along. Don't forget, peds in general is a much different animal than adult med-surg; I really didn't like bedside nursing either, but I knew (for at least my area) that without some inpatient experience, school nursing would be unattainable, so I managed to get in on a pediatric unit and I, for the most part, really loved it!

So I guess, you really need to decide if school nursing is the only way you'll be happy as a nurse, and if so, what immediate sacrifices are you willing to make in order to make that happen. I don't know where you're located, but many states require an RN to be FT and often even a BSN. If I were you, I'd go back for my RN - It'l be a slog, but you'll be in a much better position to apply for FT school nurse positions at that point.

I agree that school nursing has benefits that you have to sacrifice for. I was certainly willing to make those sacrifices for the many benefits and have never regretted my decision once in 16 years. Yes, pay sucks, but I was able to make it work by working creatively at other jobs, especially during the summer to make ends meet. I love what I do, and can't imagine doing anything else. But jupitercrash, make sure that you can make it work for you. Get that RN, you will need that at a minimum, school divisions are now looking for BSN prepared nurses at a minimum. Best of luck, and I hope it all works out for you.

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Double-Helix has 9 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU.

1 Article; 3,377 Posts; 41,773 Profile Views

You’re working 4 hours per day M-F, right? Why can’t you pick up an evening or weekend job that will allow you to earn more while continuing school nursing? I‘m sure there are LTCs and skilled facilities looking for staff for those hours. 

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52 Posts; 172 Profile Views

Wow. 4 hrs a day? That's like 20 hrs a week right? That's too little. Girl I moonlighted alot when I was working. I always had 2 jobs going. With that one just 4 hrs a day, you could be pulling down a regular fulltime job from somewhere else and saving up,moneybtongo get your RN. you should go for the RN. NO,JOB I EVER WORKED DID THE RNs do bedside care. The LPN and CNA were the ones on the floor. Go for it. 

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jupitercrash is a LPN and specializes in School Nursing.

18 Posts; 711 Profile Views

On 1/7/2020 at 7:33 PM, meanmaryjean said:

You only work part-time? No wonder you are having trouble making ends meet. 

Seems kinda obvious the solution here...

I know. I took the part time for experience, hoping to get into something full time next year. I could make it work if I was getting full time hours. But thankfully since I posted my SO got an unexpected raise so I am less screwed than I originally thought. 

I also agree with PP that mental health is so much more important than money. I decided to stick it out for the rest of the year and if the agency can't find me something full time I might stay on as a sub and try pediatric home health or something. 

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