New to this.. Feeling like maybe I made a mistake


I have been a school nurse for 4 weeks now... I hope I will like it because I was so fed up with the hospital that I spent 5 yrs at. This week I have been really sick with stomach virus and pink eye in both eyes. Anyway just hoping for advice! I took such a huge pay cut to come here, I at least hope I will like it.. I just miss my friends...'I also work some after school on mon and wed so it keeps me there to 6. Maybe that's the prob. I don't know just looking for any advice out there..

Tina, RN

513 Posts

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

Hang in there! It's only been 4 weeks. Being sick and working until 6 a couple times a week aren't helping matters... I'd hold off on covering the after school programs, until you feel more comfortable with the job.

Best wishes!

Wave Watcher

751 Posts

Specializes in Community Health/School Nursing. Has 7 years experience.

You have been inducted into the School Nurse Hall of Fomites since you have had pink eye and a virus! Congrats! It only gets worse from here! JOKING!

Keep your head up, your desk wiped down, your hands washed, your thermometer probes in holster on your hip for easy access (joking again), tongue depressor handy so you can learn to play the drums on your desk when you are bored, and you will be fine!!

4 weeks is not enough time to figure things will love school nursing come summer, snow days and holidays! :-)


29 Posts

Maybe you can talk to your principal about holding off on the after-school programs until next year? I am new as well, and they have me doing some of the duties of the previous nurse (bus duty, may fair, etc) which is a lot of added stress, especially because I am new to the district and the role. Either way, I wouldn't go back to the hospital if you paid me a million dollars! I talk to my friends who still work there and I have NO regrets about going into school nursing. Hang in there- as you get more comfortable it should get easier!! Good luck!


4 Posts

Thank you all for ur encouraging words! I am sticking it out and we will see what happens.


345 Posts

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

In time you will be exposed to so many germs that you will develop a super immune system! I hardly ever get sick anymore after 13 yrs.


76 Posts

I was told that you will have a great immune system in no time. I'm still waiting for it and I'm in my second year! Maybe it takes the lucky three! The best advice I could have ever been given was to not let students use your phone, but if there is no other option have sanitizing wipes readily available to keep it wiped down along with anything else in your office students can touch.

The friends thing - I still have problems with that. When I see another nurse I become Chatty Cathy and it's sad to have to wrap up the conversation. I make it through by looking at this board often, talking to the secretaries that are friendly and monthly staff meetings with the other school district nurses.

Also, play some Pandora in your office. It seems to help. When kids are in my office I like to play Disney on Pandora.

I thought I had made a mistake too! I left the world of psych nursing, which I still miss, but I definitely do not miss the 12 hours shifts!!! Now that I've made it through my first school year and I'm almost done with my second, I'm thinking I could really fit in here. It takes time to get settled it, but it can happen.

Good luck!

coughdrop.2.go, BSN, RN

1 Article; 709 Posts

Specializes in School Nursing, Public Health Nurse. Has 3 years experience.

It's okay! I'm sick too and I know it's from my students. My handwashing and Clorox spray/wipes were no match for the congestion and sore throat bug. I missed work Monday and Tuesday. At least I got to catch up on Once Upon A Time before the new season started! Just take it as occupational hazard. I also caught pink eye but in nursing school. That was lovely. Just hang in there and you'll get better soon.


408 Posts

Specializes in Peds, Oncology. Has 4 years experience.

Hang in there. The first three months I found to be the toughest. You are trying to find where you fit in with everyone else and still learning the ropes. I was a sub last year, and this is my first year as a full time school RN. I love it. I wouldn't go back to acute care for anything. I do miss my old coworkers and when they talk about having fun at work or having great teamwork on their shift that day, it makes me a little sad. School nursing gets a little lonely. Thankfully there are 30 nurses in my district and we group email all the time and we have monthly meetings together. They are only a phone call away. The plus side, at least for me, is the autonomy. I really enjoy that. The schedule can't be beat. I'm a lot happier since I left. Luckily, I work in buildings where I'm really appreciated and I don't have any issues with my staff at either school. I have been sick a lot this year. The first four months I had four different types of viral illnesses. I've only been sick once since then. I take a daily probiotic now.


45 Posts

Specializes in School Nurse. Has 8 years experience.

I found that the isolation was what hit me most during that first year of school nursing. Coming from being surrounded by medical professionals to being the only medical professional, hits hard at first. Teachers tend to group together and have more things in common - and I can understand that. I often say to my husband that it is pretty bad when the janitors are my best friends at work. As time goes on, you will develop a relationship with each teacher and that on an individual basis, as they will soon need your assistance with one of their students or “parent”. That is how my relationships have been built at my workplace. Our school district just hired 2 new nurses to replace retirees, and they both said the same thing. They said that they pretty much went into a panic when they realized that they were alone. They were both used to working in hospitals where there was plenty of staff. Relationships do come with time, and I think that the isolated feeling is a normal feeling as there are no other nurses in the building. One other way that helps me, is to keep my cell phone by my computer and text message the other 2 nurses once or twice during the day. Just a brief “how is your day going?” helps me. I don’t think we can use cell phones at work, but I told my principal that having a cell phone readily available is essential in an event of an emergency and need one of the other nurses. That worked for my principal.

I keep a tub of wipes right at my desk and continually use them on my fingers, the thermometer, and the phone. That has also helped me this year – I haven’t gotten anything so far.

I hear you though, about missing the fellowship of other nurses. It gets better, trust me. I find coming to this site helps me a lot. Even if I do not respond, reading the posts is like therapy. You will find that every post makes you realize that most school nurses go through the same day to day situations, whether with students, teachers or parents. This site helps in many, many ways.


350 Posts

I'm going through the same thing! I just started at the end of January! I started halfway through the year and I am trying hard to get to know the students and the teachers/staff. It's not easy. I do have to say that people are super nice for the most part but I honestly had no idea what i was getting into. It's shocking. I walked in on the first day and they basically said, "That's the office!" I had a retired nurse come in for 2 days to help and get me started. That was it.

I work in a lower socioeconomic area and I'm already on a first name basis with the local CPS office. I've already seen quite a few cases of abuse. The last nurse walked out and didn't do any screenings so I have to screen 500 kids before June. I get 30-50 visits in my office each day (6.5 hours). I have no idea when I will find time to screen! It's crazy. Last week I had to put my order in for all my supplies next year. Huh???? I found the order from last year. The nurse ordered things like "2 gallons of hydrogen peroxide." WTH??? Who uses that???

I cannot tell you how many people send sick kids in. Before care has this awful habit of holding the sick kids until school starts and then letting me call the parents to send them home (after the parents arrived at work of course). I had to put a stop to that! They were dumping kids in my office the second I walked in. I cannot tell you how many kids walk in the door of the school and some right to my office to throw up or with fevers.

3 weeks ago I had a mom tell me she couldn't pick her sick son up because her dinner was arriving. I called her at 1:30pm. She works 10 minutes away at a library. Her dinner was arriving at 2pm. She finally arrived to pick him up at 2:20 (school gets out at 2:40). I had to make a CPS phone call the minute I got her son out of the office. So she waited for me and insisted I take her son's temperature before she would take him home (10 minutes before the end of school). The she insisted I take her temperature. His was 100.2. Her's was 98.4. I should not have done that but I didn't feel like arguing with her.

As if she wasn't ballsy enough.... she came in last week asking the principal for a job in the library. I overheard this conversation from my office and decided to take a quick stroll by them. She avoided looking at me. I couldn't help it though - the minute she walked out, I reminded the principal that she was the mom the who couldn't come get her sick kid because her dinner was arriving at her library job at 2pm (10 minutes away from our school). He laughed and told me not to even worry about that request going anywhere.....

I call one of the other district nurses almost daily with questions. I try to rotate who I call so I'm not bugging the same nurse all the time. But I went 2 days without calling a nurse in the middle school. When I did have to call her she said she thought she did something because she hadn't heard from me in 2 days!

coughdrop.2.go, BSN, RN

1 Article; 709 Posts

Specializes in School Nursing, Public Health Nurse. Has 3 years experience.
The last nurse walked out and didn't do any screenings so I have to screen 500 kids before June. I get 30-50 visits in my office each day (6.5 hours).

I would suggest that you set a time and date for screening. Notify staff and let them know that you will only take emergencies during that time, otherwise the student will be sent back to class. Clarify an emergency as one of the B's:

-Broken bones

-Barfing (witnessed)

-Bumps on the head

-Bleeding Profusely (bleeding that won't stop with a band aid)


-Breathing Problems

-Babies (if you have the bigger kids)

Also, remind them that these only apply if the injury has happened within the last 24 hours. Bumps on the head from last summer that is now hurting will be sent back to class. Hope this helps!