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Where are the school nurses?

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by NRSKarenRN NRSKarenRN, BSN (Guide) Guide Expert Nurse

NRSKarenRN has 40 years experience as a BSN and works as a Registered Nurse, Home Health.

5 Followers; 9 Articles; 159,717 Visitors; 14,454 Posts

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NutmeggeRN has 25 years experience as a BSN and works as a HS Nurse.

2 Followers; 5 Articles; 42,185 Visitors; 3,739 Posts

Is this an area where nurses are supposed to cover a gazillion kids in muptiple schools? Where they are not paid as professionals (on a teaching salary schedule)?

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WineRN has 4 years experience.

5,365 Visitors; 1,079 Posts

I think the article titles are a bit misleading. Is there a "shortage" or are schools just unable to afford nursing staff? Or do schools see school nurses as only "bandaid givers" and not grasp why they are needed?

I agree with Nutmegge that our salary definitely scares wonderful nurses away from our profession, but speaking from my own experience, when we post an open full time position in our district we have at least 20 applicants within the week.
 

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OhioBPH has 7 years experience and works as a School Health.

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It is a budgeting issue. Many of the systems like this utilize well trained Medical Assistants with nurses supervising the district. Akron Children's, Nationwide, and at least one hospital in Texas that I know of follow this model. This model allows for a trained professional to be in the building for relatively cheap (Lets be real, MAs make dirt), while ensuring the safety of the students. Even with pay rates starting in the $12 range, districts in my area are only contracting 5 hours a day!  

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I think many of the shortages are in lower income areas where there are budgeting concerns. There are several school districts that I can think of right now that have open RN positions. The districts that I'm thinking of aren't getting applicants because they are in lower income, higher crime areas with little positive community support. The pay may be a little higher, but the RN would be in charge of multiple buildings and thousands of students. It's sad.

Edited by jess11RN

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CampyCamp has 18 years experience as a RN.

651 Visitors; 159 Posts

Sometimes is just a factor of the school district being aware of the recommendation but choosing not to hire a nurse for each building. Why would they if their budget is small and the law doesn't require it? Nurses cannot apply for any job that isn't posted, regardless of the salary. 

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1,372 Visitors; 291 Posts

4 minutes ago, CampyCamp said:

Sometimes is just a factor of the school district being aware of the recommendation but choosing not to hire a nurse for each building. Why would they if their budget is small and the law doesn't require it? Nurses cannot apply for any job that isn't posted, regardless of the salary. 

This is EXACTLY why I cover multiple buildings

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kidzcare has 5 years experience.

19,376 Visitors; 3,311 Posts

58 minutes ago, WineRN said:

 

I agree with Nutmegge that our salary definitely scares wonderful nurses away from our profession, but speaking from my own experience, when we post an open full time position in our district we have at least 20 applicants within the week.
 

Do you have a lot of turnover? As in, do nurses apply and want the job but then once the reality of the pay and stress set in, do they change their mind and go back to a clinical position?

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iggywench has 6 years experience and works as a Public school nurse.

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I know so many great nurses who would love to work in a school, but they simply can't afford to take the pay cut.  We have many applicants for every opening that my district posts; I would definitely disagree that there is a shortage of school nurses in my area.   We are "lucky" to only have to cover one school, as well as receiving teacher pay, but that is still far below the salary we would earn in a hospital setting.  I always say that I am lucky that my husband's salary allows me to have this job, since I spend a lot of my own money every year on snacks, water, cleaning, and office supplies.

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AutumnDraidean has 20 years experience and works as a Substitute School Nurse.

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I know of a district that hired a green grad nurse only to lose her to the regional hospital system. Tiny districts here pay really low(mid 20's Yr) whereas the pay ladder at the hospital system starts around 25-30hr!

In some cases schools want "School Nurse Teachers" who are masters prepared people that they start in the 40K range and give tenure to. It's not a common program at public universities and I have yet to meet one nurse in my area with this certification. 

Most schools in my area have at least 1 RN per building, however that building might contain 2000+ students pre-K to 12. or it might have 250 or even 100 with the same age range. 

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Feral.Cat.Herder has 22 years experience and works as a School Nurse.

1 Follower; 1,870 Visitors; 126 Posts

Some of the school district around the area I live hire LPNs and ADNs for the clinics and have one district-wide BSN that is supervising or overseeing several campuses.  This does help with the school budget. The BSN RN is available via cell at all times if her expertise advice is needed or if she needs to physically come to the clinic for assess or perform a procedure the LPN cannot under the states scope of practice for him/her. Do other districts do this as well? 

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MrNurse(x2) has 28 years experience as a ADN and works as a RN.

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As I see more years behind than ahead, I have been given a little clarity in what is really going on. This is only about money on the surface. This country has no reservations allocating large sums of money to things that come up emergently or things that seem "unfair". The reason our educational system is where it is started back in the 70's with the NEA politicizing our educational system. They decided that the same system that made an informed electorate could be used to make a compliant electorate. Classical education models were scrapped and replaced by the model du jour, all with the ideal of singular vision. We see the culmination in our universities where anything outside of this rigid boundary is met with violence. This isn't about money, it's about power. Other countries outpacing our system since the 80's should have been enough of an alarm to call our government to action, its ambivalence proves my point. We are being blindsided to the real agenda, and it is bipartisan. This is why career politicians are detrimental to our Republic. The founding fathers were very wise in setting up our country and those that followed even wiser in creating a public school system, the first in the world. School nurses are the most expendable of all the players, as they are the furthest removed from the education process. 

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