PA school nurses?

  1. I am in my first year of nursing on a med/surg/tele/PCU overflow unit with my RN/ADN. I am currently in BSN school online and will finish August 2019.

    I am considering NP but don't handle stress well and will be starting a family within the next few years so I don't know if that path is worth it.

    From what I've researched, school nurses find their careers rewarding, though sometimes the pay is lacking. I have a few questions that I haven't been able to find clear answers for:
    1) In PA, what do school nurses make?
    2) In PA, what are the educational & experience requirements/preferences for school nurses?
    3) Is it difficult to find a job as a school nurse?

    I am thinking this might be the way to go after I have 1 year of experience, or 2 years of experience and my completed BSN. I love the atmosphere of schools and always wanted to be a teacher as a 2nd career choice. It is worth it for me to make less money for a lower stress job. I would rather have a schedule that works well with my kids' when I have them - working at their school or a school with almost the same hours/days would be ideal!

    I don't know how realistic this is, as I am still new to nursing and I don't know much about the nursing world yet, but any input would be appreciated!

    Thank you,

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    About PAnurse94

    Joined: Nov '17; Posts: 9; Likes: 2


  3. by   XingtheBBB
    You'll have to take post-BSN coursework in school nursing to be certified. Otherwise you can work as an aide, not as a school nurse. Several PA school offer the course.
  4. by   LikeTheDeadSea
    1) In PA, what do school nurses make?
    Certified School nurses in my area are on the teacher's pay scale/contract. Non-certified SNs are considered paraprofessionals and make an hourly rate that is usually equivalent to a teacher's aide.

    2) In PA, what are the educational & experience requirements/preferences for school nurses?
    Graduate level courses to be certified, there are 11ish schools that offer them in the state. I was hired immediantly after obtaining my CSN with ample pediatric public health experience. There were CSNs whose experience was all hospital/adult with many more years than me as a nurse that I was picked over. Relevant experience goes far. Also, depending where you are makes a big difference - I am in a dense population so there are many people with their certification currently waiting for openings/interviews. I had a friend interviewing the same time as me about an hour and a half away and she said she was the only applicant in her area and had 2 schools offer her positions, where I was interviewing against 10+ people for every district.

    3) Is it difficult to find a job as a school nurse?
    See above, and I'll also add that school nurses tend to stay well into retirement because in PA we are in professional benefits packages and in my area, at least, they are amazing, so people tend to stay longer than you'd anticipate. Many talk retirement for 5 years before actually doing it. Having a personal connection or subbing as a staff nurse will go a long way in securing a full-time CSN job in the future.

    I just want to note that school nursing is not less stressful. It's a different kind of stress. In PA our ratio is 1:1500, and because of budgets, anticipate being close/at that ratio. Just because it is a generally stable population does not mean stress is low. Between the legal paperwork that goes on in education and the volume of students seen daily, stress can definitely be high. Many days we go without lunch/breaks and many times I have to have a staff member stand in my office to supervise kids so I can run to use the restroom. I love what I do and hope to be here for 30+ years, it is rewarding and the schedule is amazing and I never dread going to work on a Monday, but I'd say my stress level is around the same as when I worked with trach/vent pediatric kiddos in a facility that was typically understaffed.

    Please feel free to PM me with any questions! This forum is a great place to take an inside-look at school nursing. Even if a title of a thread doesn't make sense, take a peek around. We're well represented across grade levels and parts of the country, but we all help each other. It's a good way to get a snapshot of all the variables that come with school nursing.