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New RN who wants to skip the hospital.

Hello all.

A little backstory: I'm a BSN student nearing graduation in December of this year. I've been a CNA on a busy med/surg floor for over 2 years now. The thought of being a bedside nurse in any capacity (in any specialty) makes me nauseous after watching what nurses go through on my floor. I'm interested in community health/school nursing, both of which are non-hospital. Is there anyone on here who skipped the hospital and went straight into school nursing? Or some other kind of outpatient setting? My heart isn't set on anything- just considering my options before job apps start here in a month or two.

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Has 43 years experience. Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

In school nursing, you are ALONE in making snap clinical decisions without someone to discuss situation Not a position for a new grad.

Look at state health position for community health, working in health center/clinic.

Best wishes in landing a position in these pandemic times.

bluebonnetrn, BSN, RN

Has 18 years experience. Specializes in School nurse.

I understand your anxiety. Your observations are spot on! However, school nursing is a very high level of autonomy. The normal, daily stuff you could learn and manage. But when the SHTF it's YOU and a bunch of teachers...
I would not have had the ability as a new grad. Very carefully consider that choice and perhaps buck up and get the hospital experience first. You will be a better all around nurse for it. Good luck and best wishes!

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing.

Okay, I went straight into school nursing from nursing school.

But it was NOT during COVID times. I do NOT recommend during COVID times. As mentioned above, it is a very high level of autonomy that is overwhelming even the most veteran of us during this time.

I will say that I was in higher education for 7+ years prior to switching careers to nursing. When I landed in school nursing, I got a long-term sub position in a middle/elementary school for a nurse on medical leave. The office has two RNs in it and the other RN was a seasoned school nurse that taught me SO MUCH. It was invaluable orientation that very, very, very few school nurses get. It, along with my previous education background, helped me find my footing and confidence. I transitioned to a full time job a few months later.

I'd say look at subbing, but subbing in this time is also kinda a beast you can just get through right into! And shadowing a school nurse may not allowed this fall - not sure what state you are in - but that is also valuable.

Edited by JenTheSchoolRN

57 minutes ago, JenTheSchoolRN said:

Okay, I went straight into school nursing from nursing school.

But it was NOT during COVID times. I do NOT recommend during COVID times. As mentioned above, it is a very high level of autonomy that is overwhelming even the most veteran of us during this time.

I will say that I was in higher education for 7+ years prior to switching careers to nursing. When I landed in school nursing, I got a long-term sub position in a middle/elementary school for a nurse on medical leave. The office has two RNs in it and the other RN was a seasoned school nurse that taught me SO MUCH. It was invaluable orientation that very, very, very few school nurses get. It, along with my previous education background, helped me find my footing and confidence. I transitioned to a full time job a few months later.

I'd say look at subbing, but subbing in this time is also kinda a beast you can just get through right into! And shadowing a school nurse may not allowed this fall - not sure what state you are in - but that is also valuable.

This is so helpful. I’m in Houston, TX. Your experience seems to be unique in that I likely wouldn’t get the same opportunity to have that orientation to the job. I hadn’t thought about subbing being a possible option, I can keep my eye out for that. I have been placed at an elementary school clinic this semester, I really hope that doesn’t change... It will depend on if they go forward with in person classes in September. In any case starting out in a hospital for a year or so wouldn’t be the worst thing.

BrisketRN, BSN, RN

Has 4 years experience.

I started in home health at a private duty company that had an extensive new grad program. I'd recommend looking into community. Depending on where you are you might find some really different nursing jobs. Explore, shadow, see what's out there. You don't have to go into med surg nursing, but school nursing right off the bat would be quite difficult given the level of autonomy and assessment skills needed.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Has 25 years experience. Specializes in school nurse.

In my state, school nurses are required to have experience before getting licensed for school nursing; there are other requirements as well. Private schools are free to do what they want (and they do) but I think there's some wisdom in that thinking. (Some states require completing special grad certificate programs to work in their schools.)

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience. Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

Our district now requires two years' experience. I also knew that acute care was not for me after four months in the ICU. I don't regret it BUT now I am not eligible for many nurse manager positions or case management positions that require acute care experience (even if they're not acute care positions themselves). Please think on this thoroughly. You are making decisions that your five-years-from-now self will live with.

Me! Me!

Not in a school, but an FQHC. I also KNEW I didn’t want to do a hospital job, other than maaaybe in a psychiatric hospital. So at graduation (ABSN, no medical experience, second career for me) I applied to a bunch of community health jobs. Got one interview and got hired. And I’ve been very happy with my decision.

In the past few months I’ve gotten annoyed with my job and applied for other places, and have gotten many interviews (at which point I told them I’m no longer interested, as I decide I actually want to stay at my job haha). I say that to say: once you have a year experience, the world is your oyster. Obviously I’m not applying to hospital jobs so I have no idea how difficult that would be. But if you want to work outpatient, work outpatient. You can change to a different sector of outpatient as you’re finding your niche.

On 8/10/2020 at 5:58 PM, alynn2018 said:

Hello all.

A little backstory: I'm a BSN student nearing graduation in December of this year. I've been a CNA on a busy med/surg floor for over 2 years now. The thought of being a bedside nurse in any capacity (in any specialty) makes me nauseous after watching what nurses go through on my floor. I'm interested in community health/school nursing, both of which are non-hospital. Is there anyone on here who skipped the hospital and went straight into school nursing? Or some other kind of outpatient setting? My heart isn't set on anything- just considering my options before job apps start here in a month or two.

School nursing is COMPETITIVE to get into in urban areas, but it maybe easier to find a job in rural areas. Get your foot in the door someplace if your school does community health clinicals.

FullGlass, BSN, MSN, NP

Has 2 years experience. Specializes in Adult and Geriatric Primary Care.

You may be able to find an RN job in an outpatient setting, like a primary care clinic or a specialty practice.

RNs also work in research. For example, research studies may employ an RN to perform intake, take vitals, take measurements relevant to the study, etc.

Good luck.

DaniannaRN

Has 13 years experience. Specializes in Quality Control,Long Term Care, Psych, UM, CM.

Personally, I think it will be difficult to get into OP settings you mentioned without any type of bedside experience, but not necessarily a hospital. I never worked in a hospital but worked in a nursing home for quadriplegics and people with TBIs. It was busy but manageable and gave me lots of experience to take with me to other places.

If you really don't want to do even long term care, try residential psych (group homes and supported living). I did that for a couple years and loved it. You don't need much experience in many companies and it's in the community, not a hospital. Also try health insurance (field nurse assessor or UM) or worker's comp companies. Some of them don't require much clinical experience and will train you on everything you need to know.

My friend went straight into County public health dept after finishing her BSN.

She did have about 10 years of bedside nursing as a CNA and LVN, but never did bedside work as an RN.

beachynurse, ASN, BSN

Has 35 years experience. Specializes in School Nursing.

I have been a nurse in a high school with almost 2,000 students and 250 faculty and staff members for the past 16 years. I don't recommend coming right out of nursing school and into school nursiing. You are the only health care provider in a building full of god knows how many children and staff.If there is an emergency, you have to be able to make a decision on a dime, all while assessing and proccessing the data in your head. I really think that a solid 2-3 years on a med surg unit gives you a great background for this kind of nursing. It gives you the time to sharpen your assessment, and critical thinking skills. There is no backup, or time to make a phone call for advice from another school nurse in these emergencies. Best of luck to you. 

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