Want to become a School Nurse, but is it worth it?

by Rocio8809 Rocio8809, LPN Member

Specializes in Pediatrics, home health, school nursing.

Hello everyone,

I been thinking of going back to school and earning my RN in the future. I want to specialize in school nursing and works as a School Nurse but I'm in doubt if I should specialize in it since I've heard negative things about doing school nursing. I currently work as LVN in a school setting for almost 3 years and, apart from that, I have 2 years in pediatric home health care experience. I've seen what my assign RN, school nurse does and what her days consist and I know its hard work?. She has about 4 schools in her charge. I know its a huge responsibility but for some reason I love working in a school setting. Also, I know that the pay rate is less than what an RN working at a hospital makes but I don't really mind. My biggest concern is if I should specialize in it since now with Covid its going to be even crazier. What do guys think? I would love to hear some feedback from current new grads who are working as School Nurses or other School nurses who have worked longer in the field. I would also love to hear what past work experiences you did before becoming a school nurse and how did that experience help you in the school setting.

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing. Has 13 years experience. 3,142 Posts

Your LVN experience is worth something for sure....but I think you're limiting yourself if you go to school nursing right out of RN school. Love from an ICU and public health nurse who's now a school nurse.

Nurse Trini

Nurse Trini

Specializes in LPN School Nurse. Has 5 years experience. 59 Posts

I am an LPN and I've been very happy for the past year that I've worked with the schools. I'm dreaming of getting my RN so I can be a regular school nurse, but even my existing job is nice (modulo the fears about COVID and what we're going to experience if/when the buildings open up again).

k1p1ssk, BSN, RN

Specializes in pediatrics, school nursing. Has 11 years experience. 661 Posts

Depending on where you are in the country, and even district to district, the life a school nurse is different. In my district, there is a FT nurse in every school, and 2 in the high school. I am salaried and on the teacher's contract, soon to be in the teacher's union as well. If I were to break down my salary to an hourly rate, it is comparable to a hospital-based floor nurse on day shift with my same experience. The biggest reason the pay discrepancy is so great for me, is because we generally get a ton of vacation time. In my district, we generally get around 10days at the holidays, a week in February, a week in April, and 9 weeks of Summer off, plus all federal and state holidays (Labor Day, Veterans Day, Columbus Day, President's Day, Patriot's Day (a Massachusetts thing), and Memorial Day).

Since you've been working in schools in your area, you know what the atmosphere is like. The biggest thing I like to tell aspiring school nurses is to get a feel for the job before jumping in. It is a whole different ball game than hospital/LTC nursing. You may want to get some floor nursing under your belt once you have that RN degree, as one thing I have heard is that a lot of hospitals won't count school nursing as experience if you decide to transition. So if you have it under your belt before your start in a school and find out you're not into it, you at least have that hospital experience to fall back on! Plus, it looks real good on a resume for applying to school positions!

Good Luck!

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 29 years experience. 3,397 Posts

also, see if the school will keep you as an RN. Some districts, due to budget, will only allow so many RNs and LPNs. I think you should get your RN, but make sure to know what the future holds so that you don't put all of your eggs in 1 basket

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing. 3,021 Posts

So, I was a new RN grad who went straight into school nursing. I was not an LPN before. Nursing was a career change for me.

I am soooo rare. And even with that, I had a prior education background. I worked in higher education for 7 years before becoming a second career RN. Than I landed a great long term sub job where I worked in a huge nursing office that covered both a middle and elementary school staffed by two nurses. The nurse I worked with was AMAZING and taught me so much.

This in mind, I recommend folks look into becoming a sub nurse first to get your feet wet. You have the experience in a school setting as a LVN, which is HUGE. You've seen it first hand, much like I did above. Like someone else said up thread - any RN opening in your district? Is there room for you and your RN skills there after you graduate? (And would be school even help a little there - my school reimburses $1000/year for education costs that directly help your skills at the school).


Rocio8809, LPN

Specializes in Pediatrics, home health, school nursing. 17 Posts

Thank you to everyone to responded back.? I really appreciate your positive feedback. I never considered asking my district if there any advancement or are willing to accept me as an RN after I graduated. I spoke with a School Nurse at the school district I worked at, and she told me that they gave her up 5 years to get her school nurse credential. They were very flexible with her. Hopefully when I get my BSN in the future, they can consider me for a school nurse position. Once again, I I want to thank everyone for your advice and support.