New School Nurse: VENT - page 2

I have to vent; all my RN friends are in the hospital environment and just don't get it :-( I have been an RN for almost 10 years and recently started working in an Elementary school in February.... Read More

  1. by   Kim O'Therapy
    Quote from mom's outlet
    To BritRN04 - Hang In There! School nursing is the hardest job I've ever had, but the students are the reward. They will grow to love you because you help them when they need it the most. It takes a few years to build those relationships, and you'll even find some nice teachers and office staff, eventually. To your questions -

    1 - I had minimal training. I had subbed in my school district for 5 years, so that helped and I knew the other nurses. One nurse taught me the computer documentation system in one day, and then I read the rules on our State Health Services website - about Individual Health Plans and Immunization rules, mostly. If your school offers to send you to any classes on your documentation system, GO! I learned so much and met a lot of great school nurses. By learning more about the system, I learned how to run reports to show what the school nurses does - the high volume of visits, meds given, injuries at school, etc. It saved my job this year during the budget cuts. Like the others said, be visible when you can - go to staff meetings, participate in school events anytime you can. I organize CPR classes for my staff and they like having that available.

    2 - Office staff - kind of a pain! I have some very nice ones who are helpful, but they also want to tell me all of their health problems which can become very cumbersome. My first responsibility is to the the students, not adults who have cars and can make their own appointments with a doctor. They gossip about each other alot, so I try to stay out of that - so thankful that I'm mostly trapped in my office! My group is generally supportive, but I also do my best to handle all medical needs and not dump on them. I take a 20 minute lunch and have one secretary who covers during that short time. I eat right by the office so she can grab me if she needs me. It's a frustrating facet of school nursing - the teachers get 45 minutes - 1 hour for lunch plus a conference period, and I'm lucky if I can eat like an animal for a few minutes. Teachers don't seem to have any idea what we do - I see 40 - 50 kids/day, calling lots of parents, and still have all those shot records and screenings to do. But if an adult walks by and no one is in the office, they say "OH, it's quiet in here today!". After 4 years, I accept that they really have no idea what I do, and they may never. I'm never bored, and never lonely, but the job is lonely in the respect that no one on campus understands you. I've heard administrators say dumb things like "we don't need school nurses", but then will ask you to "run over and check out this kid asap" even though "anyone" can do it.

    3 - about fitting in - kinda covered it above. We're not teachers, so they generally don't know what to do with us. I'm friendly as much as possible, but I still don't have a lunch group - partly because my lunch is so short. My best relationships are with the counselors and administrators. They do seem to appreciate my contributions - after 4 years, they can see that I keep excellent records and they don't get any complaints about the nurse's office.

    Again, the students are the best part - as you get to know them and their stories, you will love them and they will appreciate you. The school nurse helps families during their most vulnerable times. I have many students who leave the hospital one day and return to school the next day. They are so grateful when I understand their diagnosis and they don't have to explain it to me. The second runner-up is the summer and holidays off! You can't beat the time off. I hope you can stay with it a little longer but it's certainly understandable if you decide to go another direction - that's the blessing of being a Registered Nurse!
    Wow! Wonderful post. I am wrapping up my third year of school nursing and you've hit the nail on the head. I have been deciding if I want to go back next year, but I really feel that the worst day of school nursing is still better than a good day on the floor. I think my favorite part of this job is that I'm independent, virtually my own boss. As you stated in point #3, as long as there are no complaints about the clinic or the care the students receive, everyone leaves me alone.

    Thank you for your great post. I really needed it today.
  2. by   JenTheSchoolRN
    Quote from Kim O'Therapy
    I think my favorite part of this job is that I'm independent, virtually my own boss.
    This is why I think I love school nursing. That independence was something I wanted and I do well with, even though it can be frustrating and you often have find ways to learn certain things on your own. (That's why I also love this forum). As for training, I had three hours with the outgoing nurse where she tried to tell me everything she knew and then she left me her email address. The school will be sending me for two weeks of state training for next year this July.

    I'm still new (3 months as a sub, 2 weeks on the job full-time) and it is my first nursing job, but I worked 7 years as in higher education administration, so I think that experience has helped me find things in common with teachers and office staff.

    But the kids are the ultimate reward. I had one kid going through a tough time at home sit in my office for almost two hours last week; she drew me a picture that said "jenelizabeth is the best nurse." And that made me feel awesome.
  3. by   SoutheRNgirl79
    Where did you find information to read & prepare you? I start my new school nursing job tomorrow & have been looking everywhere, just not sure what to focus on. Thanks for the help!!!!
  4. by   Farawyn
    Quote from SoutheRNgirl79
    Where did you find information to read & prepare you? I start my new school nursing job tomorrow & have been looking everywhere, just not sure what to focus on. Thanks for the help!!!!
    I hit up the other nurses in our district and they directed me to a lot of sites where I could educate myself. I really had no orientation and I just "liked" a whole bunch of these posts without realizing how old the thread is.
    Best of luck.
  5. by   Massmagic

    I am in the same boat as you as far as having a downright MEAN secretary. Just this one person can make work miserable. What I have resorted to is to try to get along without the secretary and try not to go to her for anything, but there are things that have to involve the secretary or secretaries. I feel for you and know just how you feel. I often go home crying ..all because of one mean person. I am like you … nice and will go out of my way to help anyone, so to have people be so mean just plain hurts.

    The secretary thing….I have tried everything. This is totally not like me but for my survival, I ignore the secretary. I do not say “good morning” to her or anything. I used to try the nice things like saying “good morning” but I would just get a nasty smirk and no reply back – that really hurts.

    It is the most difficult thing in the world, and plus ruins the job. I am sorry, as I know what it is like. I go into work with a good attitude…happy and smiling and conversing with others and try my best to ignore the secretary. I pray daily that she will change and like me….I know it will just needs to happen sooner.

    I have found, like the others, that school nursing is somewhat lonely as we are not teachers, so we are always on the outside. I deliver fluoride rinses weekly to the classrooms before school and take that time to chit chat with the teachers and sometimes I go see a teacher right after dismissal to discuss a student that they may have sent to me. This helps to build up a rapport and a friendship with the teachers. I try to focus on those who are nice.
  6. by   SchoolNurseTXstyle
    This is my 9th year as a school nurse and I still feel like I fly by the seat of my pants some days. You just never know what will walk in your door. I would say about year 3 was when things really started to "click" and I felt comfortable with my role.

    Unfortunately, there will ALWAYS be staff that will question you or step on your toes because you are truly the odd duck in the building. It is up to you to educate them!

    There were many times that first year where I felt like running out the door but I am glad I stuck with it because it is a rewarding job if you stick with it. And by rewards, I mean JUNE,JULY, AUGUST, spring break, winter vacation oh AND students, staff and parents who will take the time to let you know you are appreciated!!
  7. by   Britrn04
    I tried so hard with school nursing and moved really wasn't for me. Perhaps it is the area I live in, but I found it just wasn't a good fit. My husband is a teacher and really wanted to get on his schedule and take the summers off. Not for me. I just completed my fist semester of MSN program in Nursing education and going to try the teacher gig :-) I used NASN and did the free CEUs and learned by the seat of my pants. Good luck!!
  8. by   Massmagic

    Your news is not surprising to me. I wish you the best of luck. The education degree is a great idea, especially if you are young enough to use it. Congrats!
  9. by   Jcrred
    I am really glad to see this thread. I started as a school nurse in August after being a hospital nurse for almost 18 years. School nursing is the hardest job I have had for so many reasons. I am struggling to even like it and have considered changing my entire profession in the last 6 months. When I started I got very little "training" and feel like a new grad after 18 years. I keep telling myself that I will do it for 2 years before I make any significant decisions but there are days that I am so overwhelmed by the students, the paperwork and no support, that I just want to walk away. Seeing that others feel the same way really helps. It has given me the motivation to go back on Monday. Still crossing my fingers for a snow day though.
  10. by   100kids
    The first year is by far the toughest year as a School Nurse. So many of us had little to no training and it is a different animal than any other nursing we have done in the past. Getting through the first year is very hard but it does get easier, or at least you get better at it. My first few weeks I thought I would never make it. I still feel like quitting at the end of some days but most days I'm good. Hang in there!
  11. by   mycsm
    usually by March/April, I am asked to sign my contract for the next year. You might not have time to think about "returning" over the summer. However, I would request a meeting with both the principal AND the superintendent to voice your concerns. It might help things, it cant make it any worse.
  12. by   SoutheRNgirl82
    mom's outlet You have summed up everything beautifully! It's nice to know there is someone out there who relates! Are you still working in the school?
  13. by   Britrn04
    I only stayed as a school nurse for 1 year. I went back to the hospital setting. I got an MSN in Nursing Education and teach adjunct in a BSN program. Later on, I will try to teach full-time and get my summers that way :-)