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? for those paid on teacher scale

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by Happy Go Lucky Happy Go Lucky, BSN (New Member) New Member Nurse

Happy Go Lucky is a BSN and specializes in ER/School Nursing.

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Hi, I've been substitute school nursing and love it. I am considering doing the school nursing certificate required by New Jersey in order to do it full time, but am wondering whether it makes sense. There is such a need in my area that I can work every day if I want to through the agency I work for, and the pay is good. Can anyone tell me how NJ schools pay staff school nurses? I understand for public schools it is on the teacher pay scale, which would be ok if they place me on the step scale according to my years of total RN experience (13), but not so okay if they place me on the step scale by how much school nursing experience I have.

If anyone could give me some insight into how it works, I would appreciate it. I hate to spend the money & go through getting the certificate if it would result in being paid less and more restrictions on time off, when I am pretty happy with the agency flexibility and pay. I don't need the health benefits, and while the option to get into the pension system is attractive, the pay scale thing is definitely the deciding factor. 

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Margaret K. Stephen has 8 years experience and specializes in emergency.

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My hospital experience didn't count either. I'm in Texas.

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in nj, unfortunately most districts won't give you step credit for your non-school nursing years.  I happened to start my public school job after a few years at a private school, so that time was counted, but i believe the other nurse that started in that district with me who had no prior school experience started at step one.  Overall, the pay is better than the per diem rate you'd make as a sub, most districts around me pay 100-225/day. (by the way... what part of NJ are you?  North?  PM me!  I always need subs!) and you'd get the benefits of getting into the pension, medical, dental, etc.  

Also - it's worth noting that "technically" districts only need 1 CSN per "campus".  If you seek out a job as an additional office nurse, you wouldn't need the cert.  You could always get it later once you're working.  Buuut... it's seldom that there are more than one nurse in a school.  Larger HS or a k-8 might have 2, but even that's not a guarantee.  

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MHDNURSE has 21 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Pediatrics, Community, and School Health.

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Not in NJ (I'm in MA) but I just started in a new district and was shocked to learn that I get ALL my experience counted!  So I am on step 12 which is the highest bracket here and I am brand new this year!  It feels really nice to have all my experience and work finally be recognized.  I feel like nurses really should get credit for all the years and work we put in, regardless of the specialty/area of practice.

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7 minutes ago, MHDNURSE said:

  I feel like nurses really should get credit for all the years and work we put in, regardless of the specialty/area of practice.

Yees!!  This!  

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8 hours ago, MHDNURSE said:

Not in NJ (I'm in MA) but I just started in a new district and was shocked to learn that I get ALL my experience counted!  So I am on step 12 which is the highest bracket here and I am brand new this year!  It feels really nice to have all my experience and work finally be recognized.  I feel like nurses really should get credit for all the years and work we put in, regardless of the specialty/area of practice.

That’s awesome! I’m in MA as well and seriously considering going into school nursing. I’ve been a sub in my town for a couple years but I have no idea what the full time pay looks like. I’ve been looking online but haven’t found anything reliable to give me a frame of reference. Is it the same as the teachers pay scale? Congrats on your new job!! 

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kidzcare has 5 years experience.

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In my district, no years of experience counted. Really frustrating. I am certified and started on the bottom rung. We are in contract negotiations now and trying to get credit on the salary schedule for years of experience as a school nurse. 

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JenTheSchoolRN is a BSN, RN and specializes in School nursing.

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17 hours ago, Nursemomof4 said:

That’s awesome! I’m in MA as well and seriously considering going into school nursing. I’ve been a sub in my town for a couple years but I have no idea what the full time pay looks like. I’ve been looking online but haven’t found anything reliable to give me a frame of reference. Is it the same as the teachers pay scale? Congrats on your new job!! 

Also in MA. Depends on the district. I wasn't on the teacher's scale when I started, finally spoke up about it when I was told nurse are "close to the scale" and next year I was adjusted to it. Meant I got the bump ups at certain years like teachers. I just went from year 6 to 7, which is the largest % bump on my scale. 

I went into school nursing straight from nursing school. but did have a long term sub gig prior to my current gig. I did, however, work in high education prior to changing careers to nursing. They loved that (part of why I got the gig) but I still started at 0.  

My school will accept previous school nurse experience but a max of 3 years will be counted.

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LikeTheDeadSea has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in School Nursing.

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My "registered nurse working in schools" experience did not count.  Only "school nursing" experience counted, which is considered just CSN scope.  

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6 hours ago, JenTheSchoolRN said:

Also in MA. Depends on the district. I wasn't on the teacher's scale when I started, finally spoke up about it when I was told nurse are "close to the scale" and next year I was adjusted to it. Meant I got the bump ups at certain years like teachers. I just went from year 6 to 7, which is the largest % bump on my scale. 

I went into school nursing straight from nursing school. but did have a long term sub gig prior to my current gig. I did, however, work in high education prior to changing careers to nursing. They loved that (part of why I got the gig) but I still started at 0.  

My school will accept previous school nurse experience but a max of 3 years will be counted.

Thanks for the info! It sounds like the benefits and pension are great (as well as the schedule) so maybe it would be worthwhile for me even if there’s a considerable pay cut. I currently have a baylor position as a visiting nurse. I make a full time salary and only work weekends but I don’t want to do this particular job forever. And as nice as having M-F off is— I have zero days off with my husband and kids. There’s advantages and disadvantages to everything I guess! 

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Happy Go Lucky is a BSN and specializes in ER/School Nursing.

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Thank you for all the replies, you've really given me a better perspective on this.  I really enjoy substituting and it seems like the demand is very high, so I'm thinking I'll just chill for a year or so & see how it goes. I found out so far that agency substitute school nursing pays about 2.5x more than being a sub nurse hired direct with the school, and so far the agency is giving me plenty of time. I'm direct employed with five school districts in addition to agency and sadly, I can see why it's tough for the schools to find staff nurse subs. As much as I think I'd love to have my "own" school (instead of subbing), it doesn't make much sense for me at this point. 

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