Being a School Nurse in TX

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I'm seriously considering changing career tracks and getting an associate's degree related to being a registered nurse. Ideally I would like to be a school nurse, after getting my associate's degree and passing the exams. I am a man in his early 30's, so I'm not sure if being a male nurse would be a plus, or not make a difference.

    My main questions relate to if being a RN would be a good career move for the long-term. I am doing this since I researched the field and enjoy assisting others. I truly believe that I would be happiest in a school setting (I used to be a teacher in the past, but got burned out on the need to be the strict figure in the classroom and to deal with all of the micromanaging that comes with it...But that's a whole 'nother post).

    I understand that a local community college in Houston does the RN program and it seems fairly affordable. But, with that said, would a potential employer mind if you went to a community college for your associate's? Or does it just matter if you pass the exams, and that's about it?

    I know too that schools usually have just one nurse on-staff, so the openings might be fewer, but then again, I don't want to let that stop me in and of itself. But, I also figure that there are bound to be openings for school nurses, so I shouldn't despair unnecessarily. However, I also am realistic that many nurses would rather do nursing in a school than be in a hospital...

    Lastly, I have an issue with my back that will later require some physical therapy. With that said, I can still move around and walk fine, but I think that something like working in a hospital where I'd be on the move constantly might aggravate it over time. Thus, I am trying to find a RN job where preferably I don't need to be on-the-go constantly (and I'm willing to work a nursing job that pays a bit less to have that).

    All in all, I see that the job growth for RNs is supposedly going to be around 16%, which is a good sign, but I'm unsure if as a new RN I would need to work in a medical facility or in a job that was consistently on-the-go (...?).

    Thanks again for any helpful advice! :-)
  2. Visit HTXTed profile page

    About HTXTed

    Joined: Oct '18; Posts: 9; Likes: 3

    24 Comments

  3. by   Silverdragon102
    Moved to the School Nursing forum
  4. by   HTXTed
    Thanks :-)
  5. by   LikeTheDeadSea
    I originally got my RN with an Associate's Degree. I worked in classrooms and 1:1 positions until I got higher education. In the area I'm in, to be a "true" office-running nurse you need a BSN to be a staff nurse and a CSN to be on the teacher's contract.
    I know other states have different requirements/needs.

    I got a job right out of nursing school with my ASN and now am wrapping up my Master's debt free 6 years later because I was able to have a reasonable salary and save/pay as I went.
  6. by   HTXTed
    Thanks! :-)

    Is the job market generally decent for RNs with Associate's Degrees? I live in Houston, so I'm hoping that there'll be a decent amount of openings after graduating...That's neat you worked in a classroom; Did you teach nursing classes?
  7. by   OldDude
    It'll never work...only women can be school nurses.

    Hahaha!! Got your attention!

    ADN versus BSN is a district by district policy.

    Being a male will not inhibit your ability to be employed; usually.

    You have knowledge of the school environment.

    Your back will likely be healed by the time you finish nursing school.

    Read the many posts on here about entering school nursing with versus without experience. I'm sure you'll get some real, heartfelt input and advice here and don't get your feelings hurt if some of it is not what you want to hear.

    Good luck!!
  8. by   GdBSN
    I am in the Houston area, and nursing was a second career choice for me also. An ADN-vs-BSN is a district by district requirement. Since school nursing is an independent practice, many districts are moving towards requiring a BSN. When you look at pre-reqs and class requirements, there is only a few different classes between a ADN and BSN degree.
    Nursing school and clinicals can be grueling, be sure to address your back issue and continue your therapy. Most districts require 1-2 years of nursing (hospital experience) before employment.
    Best of luck!!!
  9. by   iggywench
    I am a school nurse in the greater Houston area. I am also a former teacher, and went to Lone Star to get my associates degree in nursing. My district does not require a BSN, but they do require two years of community health experience before they will hire you to be a school nurse.

    It is not something that I would recommend straight out of school, since you only have yourself and your nursing knowledge to rely on in case of an emergency. I spent two years working for a pediatrician, doing telephone triage along with patient care, before transitioning to the school setting. I am so thankful for that experience, because I felt like I was trained to deal with most situations that I would encounter at school, as well as dealing with irate parents.

    Your teaching background will be helpful in getting a school nurse position, since you are already familiar with the culture and "politics" of the school setting. The teachers at my school like that I can empathize with them, and that I don't keep students out of class unnecessarily.

    Once you are in nursing school, you will likely do a clinical rotation in a public school, and you can see if it seems like the right fit for you. Good luck to you!
  10. by   ruby_jane
    Being a male will neither hinder not help. What will help is wide-open compassion, curiosity, a good attitude, and a couple years of experience in a setting where you see a lot of "stuff." ER, Med-surg, L&D, public health, ICU - all see a lot of "stuff". If you choose to go right into school nursing (and some people do) - you are cutting off any future career opportunities that require a year's worth of acute care experience.

    The BSN-ADN thing swings back and forth. At my last district, all new hires had to have a BSN, and the school nurses without a BSN were encouraged to (but no financial assistance to) get their BSN. A smaller district might not care. If you're able to, consider a BA/BS to BSN program? You'll skip a lot of the pre-reqs and dive right into nursing. Since you have a teaching cert I'm assuming you have an existing degree.

    Also know that there are no accommodations in nursing school - you'll have to lift, stand, and do whatever everyone else does. It's super sexist (and I try never to be this nurse) but as a male some people may expect you to help with the heavy lifting. Protect yourself.

    Good luck!
  11. by   HTXTed
    Thanks for the awesome replies! I will absorb each reply and consider what was suggested in each. Thanks again :-)
  12. by   lifelearningrn
    Quote from HTXTed
    Thanks! :-)

    Is the job market generally decent for RNs with Associate's Degrees? I live in Houston, so I'm hoping that there'll be a decent amount of openings after graduating...That's neat you worked in a classroom; Did you teach nursing classes?
    In the Houston ISD, Clear Creek ISD, and a few other districts in the area, it's required the school nurse have a BSN.

    There are nursing jobs for ADNs in Houston, lots of them. You may have trouble finding on in the Medical Center, or at hospitals that want that coveted "Magnet" status.. but there are jobs! You should shoot for BSN if you want to get your foot in the door at a school. Get your ADN, and bridge while you work. I promise as soon as you have a little experience as an RN- as soon as you get the BSN you'll be a shoe-in in HISD.. they're always looking for good nurses.
  13. by   slw510
    I am not a school nurse. I, too, was a public school teacher for 10 years before deciding to retool to get my BSN. All I want to add to your inquiry is that after being a public school teacher, anything is easier!

    I have only practiced as an RN in California where I believe that there is a shortage of school nurses, mostly because they have crazy high caseloads and not enough support. The more acute care experience you have going into a school nurse position, the greater breadth of knowledge you'll have to draw on when/if a critical condition arises.

    If there were elements of teaching that you enjoyed, I would also encourage you to look at what kinds of positions exist in the community/public health sector. I am a Public Health Nurse working in the foster care system training new foster parents to care for medically fragile babies. This kind of position doesn't exist everywhere, but you can find unique opportunities to teach and have a great impact on individuals and communities.

    Good luck!
  14. by   BiscuitRN
    I only had a "little bit" (3 years) of experience before becoming a school nurse. I did private duty nursing mostly with children which was a pretty "low impact" job, but it helped me develop my skills in working independently, assessing patients, and fixing issues using only what I've got on hand. I think I would have had a more difficult time if I'd done school nursing from the get-go, but everyone is different. I think it's a great idea. Maybe you could find a first job where you're working alongside someone else--like a large high school or a SPED school with multiple nurses.

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