Substitute school nurse - new grad?

Specialties School

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Hello!! This is my first time posting 

I have read so many posts on here about this topic but I decided I would would ask it again anyway LOL!

I am a new grad and I am scheduled to take the NCLEX in one week! My dream job is to be a school nurse, it's what I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember (and really what pushed me to finish nursing school!) I know ideally that I should have some hospital experience before applying but I have talked to the recruiter for my local hospital and she said very rarely do they have open positions in their peds unit. She suggested that I take a job in another area to "get my foot in the door" and that I could transfer when/if a job opened on the peds floor. I agreed to an interview for an opening on the mother/baby floor but every time I start thinking about it I start dreading it more and more. One of the school systems in my area just posted a job listing for substitute school nurses. I really want to apply after I take the NCLEX (if the job is still open) but my question is, is it possible to transition from nursing school to a sub school nurse position or is that just asking for trouble? On the previous post that I have read the few people that said they started out as a new grad suggested starting as a sub first. I did work as a medical assistant in a busy pediatric office for 3 years prior to nursing school but that's the only medical experience I have besides my clinical experiences in nursing school. Sorry if my thoughts sound jumbled.. it's late and my eyes are crossing from studying and answering practice questions!

Thanks for your time and any input is appreciated.

- Taylor

School nurse is not the best path to an acute care pediatric position. Mother and baby would be better, or even adult med/surg.

So I don't mean to be so forward, but at what stage are you in your life? What is so actractive to you about school nursing? I think your years of experience in a peds office is enough to qualify you for the position, but you went through a lot of intense training and education. The school Nurse depending you where you are in the country can be a very independent position and requires medical judgement confidence. Typically that confidence and comfort in autonomy comes after years of clinical experience in more of a hospital or surgical setting. Is it possible to be successful...of course. You have to understand the hours are shorter and typically summers are off, so the salary is not similar to a hospital position at all. Of course it is ideal for someone who desires a parallel schedule to that of their own children or for someone that is transitioning from needing a different kind of stress from their work situation. I think for anyone starting off as a substitute or float Nurse is ideal as you will see a wide variety of how the experienced school nurses run their office and you can learn a lot. Best of luck!

Specializes in Pediatrics Retired.

With your pediatric experience, I think it would be a good plan to start as a school nurse sub...if your financial situation would allow that.

Sorry - I should have been more clear. I was wanting to work pediatrics in a hospital setting to gain experience before working as a school nurse but the recruiters at my hospital act like openings on that floor are very hard to come by. I definitely want to be a school nurse I just don't know if I would be setting myself up for failure without having any experience outside of an office setting.

Okay, then I believe the answer is no. Your experience to get you hired is based on sound clinical judgement and proving you can work autonomously. Not specifically with peds, of course if you did I would consider that a bonus but definitely not a deal breaker.

I have been a nurse for 7 years in hospital settings. I started subbing as a school nurse (which by the way there isn't much money like $97/day and if your lucky you might get a lunch) I was surprised of how busy school nursing is. I did end up taking a full time position at a middle school 900 students. I am very comfortable with assessment skills due to my hosptial nursing experience. You have to be able to have good critical thinking skills bc you are by yourself your the only true medical person in your building. A lot of ppl rely on you. You have to be able to make the right decisions, make plans, tough decisions. Deal with the fact that not everyone will like you. you will have staff members trying influence your decision you have to have confidence to stick up for what is right. As a new nurse I think it would be okay for you to sub as a school nurse and get experience make sure you like it and get

n a med surge floor also. that will sharpen up your assessment skills. Good luck!

I agree with others that you need some direct patient care experience (Really in any acute or subacute setting where there are other nurses to guide you) to be successful/effective as a school nurse. It's an independent position that requires that you can make on the fly assessments and decisions about clinical care. That only comes with experience. Get about 2 years under your belt and then look into school nursing.

Specializes in School Nursing, Home Health.

I had 6 months experience working in an LTC facility before I became a school nurse. I haven't really had a problem with independence.

I actually think its best to start with a school nurse salary because you learn to live off of what you make, VS

working at a hospital , making $$$$ for years, then taking a major pay cut to be a school nurse.

I got married right after nursing school and got pregnant a a year and a half later, so I'm super glad I've been working here

because it is so good with family schedule. I never wanted to work in the hospital, so this has worked for me.

I do PRN home health to keep me a little more in the loop of clinical.

Good luck! Do what you want. :)

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis.

I don't know about other regions of course but I do know our school system pays it's nurses a ridiculously low wage so they are always hurting for nursing staff. Being a new grad certainly wouldn't be a barrier to employment. Being the school nurse though is being THE school nurse, you wouldn't have another nurse handy to bounce questions or concerns off of so it takes a healthy level of confidence to take that on.

If the opportunity to get your foot in the door as a substitute exists and you are confident in yourself that sounds like a good way to learn if your dream job is really your dream job. Of course as a substitute there's no guarantee how much you'd actually work so unless you are financially in a position where you really don't need to work you'd have to have another job also but don't expect that second job to be on a baby or children's unit, those can be notoriously hard floors to find jobs on.

Specializes in Peds.

I would suggest you get some hospital experience before diving into school nursing. As others have stated, you must be confident in making assessments and decisions since you have no one else to bounce a question off of in a pinch. The acuity levels of students in my area are climbing fast. I have students that need tube feedings, catheters, allergy shots, rectal seizure medications, etc. Without my prior experience I do not feel I would be as comfortable in completing these tasks. We also do not receive any orientation or training prior to being assigned to a school. Kind of sink or swim. With all that being said, I love my job and actually look forward to going to work every day.

correct, get your experience first, and then be best nurse you can be but doesnt mean if you choose to go straight into it you wouldnt do great

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