OVER IT.

Updated | Posted
by NurseM_j NurseM_j, ADN (New) New Nurse

Has 5 years experience.

school-nursing-pay-isnt-worth-stress.jpg.119fc516157b59aef862d053beae25b5.jpg

I’ve been a school nurse for 2 years. Was previously doing MedSurg and always swore I’d never go back. But now I’m considering going back. School nursing is becoming a nightmare for me. Covid SUCKS, parents are freaking jerks, my principal is the worst and the pay just really isn’t worth all this stress. The only benefit I see right now is the schedule which allows me to spend time with my 5 month old. I’m so confused. I was so looking forward to this job and I’m scared to let it go only to find myself miserable doing bedside again. Not sure what to do. 

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,776 Posts

What type of school setting are you in? All schools are DEFINITELY not created equal from an employment perspective...

k1p1ssk, BSN, RN

Specializes in pediatrics, school nursing. Has 11 years experience. 661 Posts

I am so sorry; I think for a lot of us, holding on to the memory of pre-pandemic school nursing really pushes us through these dark times, but it doesn't sound like you have that... But it is true, what @Jedrnurse said - not all schools are created equal, and it might be worth sticking it out where you are and seeking another school nurse position in another district or school for next year. I can tell you from talking to many inpatient nurses - from ICU, Med/surg, pedi, peri-op, ED, offices... you name it, they are all feeling the same pressure and frustration, so while the grass may seem greener, I would caution you. 

Eleven011

Eleven011

Specializes in Home Health,Dialysis, MDS, School Nurse. Has 20+ years experience. 1,234 Posts

I would try to stick it out.  Covid has done a number on all of us.  Its not always like this!   Principals come and go, I've had good and bad.  There will always be jerk parents, but there are awesome ones too.  And ya, the pay sucks, but nights/holidays/summers off really makes up for it, at least for me.  Hang in there!

NutmeggeRN, BSN

Specializes in kids. Has 39 years experience. 8 Articles; 4,502 Posts

We will not be in this surge forever.

RatherBHiking, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Oncology, OB, School Nurse. Has 30 years experience. 1 Article; 538 Posts

We all seem to expect school nursing to be rainbows and sunshine after leaving bedside I think, but in the end it’s still a job that comes with it’s own stressors. There’s good and bad to every job. It’s true principals come and go even when you least expect it. It’s also true not every school is like yours. Are you able to try a different school or district maybe? The more experience you get the easier it is. You learn what’s important to worry about and what’s not.

Some student populations are harder than others. The ones in poverty have tons of needs. The rich parents are super entitled. The middle of the road is the best. There are always exceptions of course.

I’ve had school nurse jobs I’ve hated and some that have been decent.  I’ve never LOVED it. We get dumped on a lot and no we don’t make much compared to other nurse jobs.

However the schedule helped me never miss any of my kids concerts, games, programs etc. I was off every snow day with them. I was off every Summer with them which was so nice. I was home every evening with them and off every holiday. No one calls me to come into work ever.

I did go back to acute care for a year. I went part time but was made to work full time a lot. I was on days and off every weekend so I was lucky there. I did enjoy working only 2-3 days a week. I didn’t have trouble getting the week off for vacation I asked for. However I came home from work feeling like I’d been at war I was so sore and tired from not sitting down hardly at all for hours upon end. Also I was way too tired to help with homework the days I worked because I usually was gone 14-15 hours. I didn’t get to see my kids off to school or be there when they got home but thankfully it was only 3 days a week. We were always short staffed. This was before the pandemic. There’s a whole new level to short staffing now. I think changes are slowly coming but right now it’s not good anywhere that I’ve heard. If med-surg was so good you’d never have left it. You swore you’d never return for a reason. Those reasons have only gotten worse. 

Only you can decide which bad parts of each type of job you are willing to live with and which good parts are most worth it. Just think carefully, take your time, do your research, and think which would be best for you and your family now and in the future. Also use the Summer to try a hospital job if you want. I did that one year too with a different position and SO glad I had the ability to walk away from acute care again. The thing is, the good things we like about acute care (the pay, feeling like we are using our skills, helping people, etc) are always shadowed by hourly rounding, tons of time consumed by charting, expected to be 10 places at once, the aide that won’t pull her weight, the manager who gives you another patient when you feel you’re drowning then schedules a mandatory meeting on your day off, the doctor yelling, etc……. ☹️

NurseM_j

NurseM_j, ADN

Has 5 years experience. 6 Posts

2 hours ago, RatherBHiking said:

We all seem to expect school nursing to be rainbows and sunshine after leaving bedside I think, but in the end it’s still a job that comes with it’s own stressors. There’s good and bad to every job. It’s true principals come and go even when you least expect it. It’s also true not every school is like yours. Are you able to try a different school or district maybe? The more experience you get the easier it is. You learn what’s important to worry about and what’s not.

Some student populations are harder than others. The ones in poverty have tons of needs. The rich parents are super entitled. The middle of the road is the best. There are always exceptions of course.

I’ve had school nurse jobs I’ve hated and some that have been decent.  I’ve never LOVED it. We get dumped on a lot and no we don’t make much compared to other nurse jobs.

However the schedule helped me never miss any of my kids concerts, games, programs etc. I was off every snow day with them. I was off every Summer with them which was so nice. I was home every evening with them and off every holiday. No one calls me to come into work ever.
 

I did go back to acute care for a year. I went part time but was made to work full time a lot. I was on days and off every weekend so I was lucky there. I did enjoy working only 2-3 days a week. I didn’t have trouble getting the week off for vacation I asked for. However I came home from work feeling like I’d been at war I was so sore and tired from not sitting down hardly at all for hours upon end. Also I was way too tired to help with homework the days I worked because I usually was gone 14-15 hours. I didn’t get to see my kids off to school or be there when they got home but thankfully it was only 3 days a week. We were always short staffed. This was before the pandemic. There’s a whole new level to short staffing now. I think changes are slowly coming but right now it’s not good anywhere that I’ve heard. If med-surg was so good you’d never have left it. You swore you’d never return for a reason. Those reasons have only gotten worse. 
 

Only you can decide which bad parts of each type of job you are willing to live with and which good parts are most worth it. Just think carefully, take your time, do your research, and think which would be best for you and your family now and in the future. Also use the Summer to try a hospital job if you want. I did that one year too with a different position and SO glad I had the ability to walk away from acute care again. The thing is, the good things we like about acute care (the pay, feeling like we are using our skills, helping people, etc) are always shadowed by hourly rounding, tons of time consumed by charting, expected to be 10 places at once, the aide that won’t pull her weight, the manager who gives you another patient when you feel you’re drowning then schedules a mandatory meeting on your day off, the doctor yelling, etc……. ☹️

This is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you so much! 

sleepwalker

sleepwalker, MSN, NP

Specializes in Occupational Health. Has 18 years experience. 287 Posts

13 hours ago, NurseM_j said:

We were always short staffed. This was before the pandemic. There’s a whole new level to short staffing now. I think changes are slowly coming but right now it’s not good anywhere that I’ve heard. If med-surg was so good you’d never have left it. You swore you’d never return for a reason. Those reasons have only gotten worse. 

pretty much sums it up

bbickRN

bbickRN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 5 years experience. 3 Posts

I have been a school nurse for almost 2 years now. I have been struggling with the same thoughts recently. I came from working in a large Trauma 1 ER. All of last school year, and up until September of 2021 I stayed PRN in the ER. It worked out when we went remote a lot, but this school year we have been in school every day, and I couldn't keep up with working 60+ hours a week so I quit the ER job.  Their PRN requirements were insane, they wanted 24 hours a month with so many hours being weekend hours and wouldn't work with me.  The last thing I wanted to do was go and work a weekend day after already logging 40 hours that week.  

They money might be great in the hospital setting, but the swap of stressors is what keeps me at the school.  I don't have to stand for 12 hours. Or worry that someone is going to die my entire shift.  No doctor's or patients yelling at you constantly or trying to hit you (ER is crazy, especially after COVID).  Yeah there are some crappy days when parents/teachers get snarky but that's what keeps me going over all. Just think about the weekend/holiday trade off.  Unfortunately my job is contracted through a large health corporation so I don't get paid for summers off.  

RatherBHiking, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Oncology, OB, School Nurse. Has 30 years experience. 1 Article; 538 Posts

On 1/28/2022 at 10:03 AM, bbickRN said:

Unfortunately my job is contracted through a large health corporation so I don't get paid for summers off.

I don’t get paid for summers either. Most school nurses/teachers don’t. They just stretch our checks over 12 months. We’ve had a few good nurses leave because they needed a better income.