New School Nurse-feeling isolated

Specialties School


Specializes in School Nurse.

This is the first time I have posted here and I'm so glad I stumbled across this site.  I started my first school nursing job (5-8 grades) approx 3 months ago.  I like the kids and the staff is so nice and supportive.  But I am in my office all the time and right outside my door is the front office.  I hear them joking and laughing because I have a big window that looks into the office, but I can't really communicate with them.  I thought I would love being alone, but I am feeling lonely.  Worse than that...I have several hours per day that I have nothing to do.  I am so bored!  

I came from a methadone clinic to school nursing because I wanted something "happier" than addicts and homeless clients. The school is definitely happier, but I used to work 0430-1300 and usually left work at 1200.  It has been hard staying at work until 1530, especially with nothing to do!!  Also, the clinic days were wed-sat and the school is M-F.  So I was used to not working 5 days a week.  The clinic wants me back and I'm really considering it.  But I hear nurses say that after you get used to is, it's SO great.  Is there a ton of downtime? I need someone to be honest. I've had several people say the "pace" is different in the school.  Are they trying to tell me you have hours with nothing to do.

I'm having such a hard time with this decision!  Help!

Specializes in School Nurse.

Unfortunately, you found this board when most school nurses are off for the Summer. 

School nursing is a specialty area. It's not like any other type of nursing. Many times you are isolated and are the only medical professional in the building. If you are feeling lonely, are you able to walk into the office and talked with the other staff members?

You were drawn to school nursing for a reason. Try to figure out if that is still the job duties and hours you want. Which job has less stress and fits your lifestyle the best? To be quite honest, not everyone enjoys school nursing. My suggestion would be to way the pros and cons and see which job works best for you. School nursing has a huge learning curve and does get better after the 1st year.

I hope this helped you a little bit, good luck to you on which ever job you choose is best for you.

Specializes in pediatrics, school nursing.

Late Spring into Summer is usually the least busy for school nurses, especially in your age group. Those kids are more independent and are starting to figure out how to care for themselves without adult help - in fact they take pride in being able to do so! 

I would wait it out through the December/January break at least. You'll likely be a lot busier in flu/rsv season! Also, you're new and schools are (unfortunately) very clique-y. The longer you stick it out, the more welcome you may feel. 

Also, if flu season is still leaving you with lots of extra time, you can always check in with teachers about doing some kind of health lessons! With that age group, it could be anything from general hygiene to vaping/drug use prevention. I am sure you could provide valuable insight/perspectives given your work history! Or, check in with the PE teacher and see if you can lend a helping hand in their classes!

For myself, during down periods, I like to hang out IN the main office. I can see the entrance to the health office and know when I have a visitor and I get to know a lot about what's going on in the school, which is really helpful in certain situations with kids.

School nursing is really niche, and I do think it takes a certain type of person to thrive in this environment, and so I think if its something you're really interested in, stick with it, at least a little longer!

Good luck!

Specializes in kids.

I encourage you to join your state and NASN  school nurse associations! They may be able to help you get a mentor. You could take this time to really review the files and it will take work and is not always easy, but try and engage the office staff. They can make your life easier...or not. Prep for your immunization review to ensure compliance, notify parents so they can (maybe) get things taken care of over the Summer. we are by far the kindest thread on the boards so reach out as needed.

Good Luck!

Specializes in School, ultrasound, cardiac.

I was a school nurse sub for 2 years and really liked it, so when I was offered a full time school nurse job in that same elementary school, I gladly accepted.  It didn't take long for me to realize, it was just not for me.  I did complete the school year and didn't renew my contract.  School nursing is not for everyone and that's OK. Wish you the best!

Specializes in School Nursing, Pediatrics.

Are you at a private school or a public school?  Are you in a big district with other nurse? Are  you currently working Summer school? It is so much different during the school year than summertime. You will have plenty to do! I would encourage you to get to know  the teachers and staff, I have my group I hang out with, but I'm friends with everyone.  Get involved in your school as well: PTO, any other committees...etc...

Also join NASN,  there is valuable information there. Good luck!

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