Is school nursing stressful?

  1. I am thinking about school nursing and was wondering if you would consider it 'stressful' on a daily basis ( besides medical emergencies)? I have 12 years varied experience and the last two jobs have been very stressful ( doctors rushing to get pt to OR, very time sensitive situations etc) and I am looking for something that is not stressful on a daily basis. I can handle being busy and working hard but without the pressure cooker sensation. I am thinking of shadowing a school nurse if I can to get a better idea of ' a day in the life of..'. I also have 3 elementary- school aged kids so also having a similar schedule is enticing.thanks for any insight!!
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    About blueindigo79

    Joined: Jan '10; Posts: 154; Likes: 26

    23 Comments

  3. by   BeckyESRN
    It's a different type of stressful than hospital/clinic stress for sure. We usually don't have critical patients, there are no other departments calling demanding a patient be brought down right now, no doctors to yell at you. However, you're it. It's all you, there are not usually any other medical people in the building, no co-workers to check out the kid that "just doesn't look right". You have teachers, admin, students, and parents all coming at you about different things. You may be the only health care person these kids see. You will get yelled at, parents will hate you, some will love you. You're with these kids and their parents (for better or worse) for the few years that they are in your building. There will be lice and vomit and tics and mental health issues. Teacher will never be happy with your decisions. But there will also be hugs and high-fives and awesome teaching moments with chronic illness students and summer break!
  4. by   KeeperOfTheIceRN
    It's definitely stressful, but not "hospital setting" stressful. You'll stress about making sure all students are UTD on their immunizations, making sure you get everyone screened that needs to be screened (hearing, vision, spinal), you'll stress about the decision you made or the broken arm you missed (just to name a few). There's always stress in every job you do. It just differs from job to job. This is by no means a stress-free, dancing in the field kind of job. But, I definitely prefer this stress over the stress I had on my hospital unit. Hands down.
  5. by   Cattz
    I can't say it any better than Becky and Keeper did. I have loved my job for 22 years and don't expect to do anything different.
  6. by   tippeny
    Stressful? Absolutely! Worth it? Absolutely! My experience as a school nurse was that there was a fairly steep learning curve the first year- just like any new job. But like the previous posters said, you are the only medical professional in the building. My days were filled with an enormous amount of paperwork, meetings to attend (504, IEP, student services team, attendance...), deadlines to meet, the occasional true emergencies in the building, daily meds, lots of emotional issues to handle with the kids (I was in a Middle School)... There were many days I didn't eat lunch until the drive home. And I was even blessed to have an amazing Health Assistant in my school who saw the majority of kids who came into the Health Room. But it was such a rewarding job and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a change from 12-hour, non-stop, hair-pulling shifts at the bedside.
  7. by   Supernrse01
    It's a different kind of "stressful". I have worked in the hospital setting, the office setting, and now the school setting, and can promise you they all have their own unique stressors. When I first started, the biggest gray hair inducer was being the only medical person around. It's different when you can't bounce ideas off of or work side-by-side with another health care professional. Students, faculty, and staff look to you for all of the answers, even when it's completely out of the nursing specialty.

    The schedule is amazing, and honestly is at the top of the list of things that keep me coming back for more!

    If you decide to shadow, my suggestion would be to sign up for more than one day. Make it a week if you can. Each day brings something new and you absolutely never know what is coming your way next! After almost 10 years, I still have days that I'm not sure I know exactly what I'm doing

    Good luck!
  8. by   Farawyn
    Quote from BeckyESRN
    It's a different type of stressful than hospital/clinic stress for sure. We usually don't have critical patients, there are no other departments calling demanding a patient be brought down right now, no doctors to yell at you. However, you're it. It's all you, there are not usually any other medical people in the building, no co-workers to check out the kid that "just doesn't look right". You have teachers, admin, students, and parents all coming at you about different things. You may be the only health care person these kids see. You will get yelled at, parents will hate you, some will love you. You're with these kids and their parents (for better or worse) for the few years that they are in your building. There will be lice and vomit and tics and mental health issues. Teacher will never be happy with your decisions. But there will also be hugs and high-fives and awesome teaching moments with chronic illness students and summer break!
    I can't say it any better than this.
    It's not stressful...until it is.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
    On Wednesdays we wear pink.
  9. by   RobotechTD
    I worked in med/surg and emergency before going to school health. For the first time in my life I looked forward to Mondays.
  10. by   OldDude
    Quote from Farawyn
    ...It's not stressful...until it is...
    I was struggling with how to get this point across. Far, you are a literary genius!
  11. by   beachynurse
    I never thought that being a school nurse would be my dream job, but it is. I am in a high school, and I love every minute of it. I simply can't imagine doing anything else. Yes, it can be stressfull being the only health care professional in abuilding with 2,100 students, plus faculty and staff. You will have your decisions questioned by administrators that have no idea of the liability we carry just by being there alone. Don't be afraid to stand up when you need to. I am busy practically all day, even having a health assistant. Lots of paperwork, decision making, meetings, injuries, kids with chronic illnesses, sick kids, and kids that simply want to go home.. But, I look forward to coming in here every morning.
  12. by   LikeTheDeadSea
    I love how others put it, "until it's not"

    Stress is being the only medical provider in a building during a kid's first asthma attack (so no inhaler/orders), with a cardiac kiddo complaining about chest pain, and recess aides telling you they need a wheelchair over the radio all at the same time. So not constant, but the flares are decent.
  13. by   hdrn90
    It's imperative to find a good work/life balance.
  14. by   khaley69
    I worked psych the last 19 years and I am still on PRN. the last 2 years I have been school nurse in middle school. Personally I don't think its stressful not compared to psych nursing. I have always been good at time management and organizational skills so I always have my IEP 504s etc done a head of time. I still get yelled at and threaten by parents but honestly that is nothing compared to working on the psych unit. It doesn't even bother me to know I am only medical professional in building of 750 students and 100 staff because I know I can call 911 if needed.

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