School Nurse Quit Job Because of Admin

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    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 until they were compliant. The last straw was when a student with newly diagnosed severe allergies (to unknown triggers) went into anaphylaxis. I administered her Epipen, as well as supplemental O2 as her 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).

    So, I broke my yearly contract, gave them a one month notice, and resigned. I live in a very small community and the two 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.

    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.

    Dear Lost My Love for Nursing,

    Part of your problem may be no longer loving nursing, but another part is resigning without another job lined up. Lack of administrative support is a common theme in many areas of nursing, not just school nursing. Quitting a job out of frustration, or out of moral distress, serves the purpose of getting away from an untenable position but without a plan for moving forward. It's always easier to land a job from a position of being employed rather than unemployed.

    You say you don't love any other type of nursing anymore, but sometimes when needing a job, you have to take what's available and hope to fall in love or make the best of it later. You also might think about looking at jobs you could work at from home. Read 8 Work from Home Jobs.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth
    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by Nurse Beth on Sep 24
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,570; Likes: 4,709
    Nursing Professional Development Specialist; from CA , US
    Specialty: Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho


  3. by   beachynurse
    I've been a school nurse for 14 years, and unfortunately this is a very common issue. Because we are being supervised by non-medical personnell, they have no idea what our job entails and the responsibilities that we carry. I find that choosing your battles and fighting for what is most important, like the student you gave epi to, that is a good argument for 911. Immunizations, well, all you can do is document that you were instructed to allow the student in the building by Peter Principal. I have found that documentation is your best friend, and can protect you if the bottom falls out of the boat. I have had to do this on many occasions.
  4. by   feelix
    Guess why I quit school nursing? Almost exact same reason, except that I waited till the end of the school year. You are perhaps better off without school personnel playing with your license. It is natural to mourn what you lose. However, I paid my bills by doing part-time home health and went back to school to get my masters. Now I teach nursing. Your experience as a school nurse will have your job cut out in Community Health.
    If you don't plan on going to school, consider a doctors office or as an after hours triage nurse. Believe me, your work as an unsung pediatric emergency care nurse will make you very valuable as a triage nurse. You can do that for one doctor, or work for an interstate service that will let you work remotely.
    You could also become a pediatric home health nurse. Pediatric home health nurses provide at home care to medically complex children who reqire ventilator and GI tube management. You will have to find a family where you are a good match. All your work will be with one patient at a time in their home.
    Good luck!
  5. by   Robmoo
    I like Feelix's idea regarding community health. Perhaps there is a position with the county ensuring compliance with state laws regarding immunization compliance in the schools. Ever thought of running for a position on the school board? Just because you are no longer the school nurse does not mean that you have to give up the good fight. A nursing education prepares one for many employment roles beyond direct patient care. You also might consider positions in occupational health.