Middle or high school???

  1. I've mainly done grade school (with a little middle school at times thrown in there) but we have some openings coming up and I'm looking to make a change. I really want to get out of grade school. I'm burned out and need a change from constant ice packs, bathroom accidents, and invisible scratches that need a bandaid. Obviously we all know there's so much more to being a grade school nurse, I'm just ready to deal with older kids. My own kids are high school aged and above (but I don't work in their district.)

    I'm considering a middle school that's only 15 min away from my house ( I currently drive 30 min to work) or a high school that's 20 min away. I really like the idea of the 15 min commute but not sure about middle school age group with all their hormones, emotional issues, and attitudes. The kids are 6th-8th grades and there are about 550 kids. Then the high school is even bigger (1650 kids), the kids are bigger, and then with all these school shootings it makes me nervous. I know for a fact the nurse there now just lets any student go home that asks to. Is that normal? I feel like that shouldn't happen but I just don't have experience with the high school type of duties. Are the high school kids respectful for the most part? Which age group would least likely have frequent flyers or those trying to just go home? I just can't decide which to pick so any insight would be great. Thanks!
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    About Blue_Moon, BSN

    Joined: Dec '14; Posts: 303; Likes: 579


  3. by   Beth CSN BSN RN
    I am currently in both a high school and middle school (high school has around 1400 kids and middle has 840 kids). There is a big difference between the two as their needs differ quit a bit. In the high school the kids are more self sufficient and and for the most part are pretty respectful (there are always some who are complete jerks). As for going home, you expect them to know their bodies and if they don't feel well, if I know they are fine and just want to be out of class I have them call their parent. If I know they are sick, then I call. The middle school is a whole different environment, they are still young, you still see the child in them (which I love)., but they need a lot more emotional support (remember they are coming from elementary school where they are more coddled). It's not just the kids who are needy, the parents are as well, you call them for EVERYTHING, I mean every little thing, which can be a pain because some parent are just mean. So, in MS I'm constantly assessing whether the child is truly sick or just feeling needy, in the HS I do more "nursing" because they come for more serious issues. Hope that helps :-)
  4. by   iggywench
    I've worked in both, and I much prefer high school. Most of the students are respectful, and don't come to the clinic unnecessarily. We do have lots of students who text their parents from class instead of coming to the clinic, but that's up to the parents and administrators to deal with. I don't send students home unless I have to. We take attendance every class period, and when a student comes to the clinic and wants to go home, I let the student and attendance clerk know whether we are sending them home (excused), or it is an elective pickup (unexcused). That tends to cut down on the number of students who go home.
  5. by   GdBSN
    I have been an elementary school nurse and now high school. Have to say I definitely prefer high school. 99% of my kids are very nice and respectful. I always joke with the teachers that I see a different student then they do. When students come to the clinic, they are usually nice because they want something. I only send students home who are sick with fever, vomiting, or contagious disease. I do have frequent flyers, but I try to educate all the students that there are going to be some days you feel bad, and in life, you have to learn to push through it. High school also fits my personalty better. I like talking to the kids more on an adult level. I love educating them about their bodies and proper nutrition. Good luck on your choice!
  6. by   NutmeggeRN
    High School. All day. Any Day. Every day!!!
  7. by   NurseBeans
    I've just recently come from a K-4 to a middle school, 7-8. I have to say, I love these older kids. They are funny, you can have a conversation with them, some of them are very reasonable and you can work with them to keep them in the school for the day. Some of them are less reasonable, and some of them are still very much small children (with helicopter parents to boot). Middle school kids are all over the map when it comes to development, which makes it more interesting to me. And the emotional turmoil...holy schnikes!!

    I was feeling guilty about really enjoying the different age group when a teacher informed me that teachers do the same thing; they might teach 3rd grade then move to the high school and love it so much more. When you find your age group, you find your age group.

    Having said that, high school...gross. Would never go to the high school personally. Too much drugs and drinking and even more drama and relationship weirdness amongst the kids. Yuck.
  8. by   kunaspud
    Middle School! Love that they are still learning about themselves and that makes a good opportunity to teach every day. I have been helping out at the HS a few hours a week and while they are good about knowing what they need or want, it seems that the bigger the kid, the bigger the problems. I pray every time I head over there that I don't walk into a huge mess. So far, so good. But I'm not sure that I would want that daily stress. My middles are old enough to know their name, their teacher's name and their parent's names. They can describe when and how it hurts. They do test the limits, but they laugh when you call BS. Love them. (Their parents.... that is usually a love or hate relationship! haha)
  9. by   MrsNurse08
    REALLY!! I'm at an K-8 grade school now...might need to try out high school...since majority rules.
  10. by   grammy1
    I love my middle schoolers. The attitude can suck sometimes, but for the most part they're pretty good.

    The hardest part is training the parents that this is no longer elementary, we don't call for every little boo-boo, no they can't interrupt all of their classes to get the work that they are going to miss this afternoon, etc.
  11. by   Blue_Moon
    Thank you for all the comments so far! I had no idea what to expect so this really helps! Each age group has it's advantages and disadvantages. I feel like I'd be ok no matter where I end up. I still want to talk to the current nurses in each of the schools to find out about the administration and stuff. It definitely sounds like high school is much better than I ever thought it was though! This is all very interesting. Thank you!
  12. by   aprilmoss
    I have to echo the sentiments of the others. I moved up over the years from elementary to middle to high and I've stayed at high school.

    By and large mostly self-sufficient. I do less assistance with diabetics and those requiring meds or even cathing than I did in elementary, even when they are in my office. I just have to deal with the more adept faker than I did in elementary school, though middle school was the worst with this (especially with the girls).
  13. by   Blue_Moon
    I'm thinking high school sounds like the way to go! Do you all wear scrubs in the high school setting?
  14. by   iggywench
    I wear scrubs in the high school setting, but I do participate in the dress-up days that we have during football season.