Can a New Grad Nurse Be a School Nurse?

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If you’re considering school nursing as a career, you need to read this FIRST.

While school nursing might sound like a good idea, and it could very well be in your situation, there are some things you need to keep in mind.

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Can You Start in School Nursing as a New Nurse?

Yes, new grad nurses can get a job as school nurses, but it’s not a good idea. While you’re not usually dealing with very acute issues, you will be working in isolation more than in a hospital. Working in isolation is not the best for new nurses.

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Will School Districts Hire New Nurses For School Nursing?

Many districts will hire new nurses for school nursing.

It’s somewhat surprising to me as you read on, but I imagine it’s for two reasons.

1. School Nursing Doesn’t Pay that Well

It’s not always the case.

I did see a new nurse saying she was offered more money than in the hospital setting, but that’s the exception for me. In most cases I hear, you’re making less money.

2. You’re Dealing with Parents

I’ve worked with kids for many years in many different capacities ranging from volunteer work to pediatrics in the hospital setting.

I can tell you that the most annoying part of working with kids is dealing with parents.

Related: 5 Best Jobs For New Nurses

Why New Nurses Shouldn’t Work as School Nurses

My main issue with new nurses working as school nurses isn’t that the acuity is high. For most school nurses I’ve talked to, It’s not the acuity of the patients that gets them down. It’s everything else.

Constant texts, phone calls, and admin paperwork that seems worse than the hospital setting.

There are of course, situations with kids with:

  • trachs
  • vents,
  • gtubes
  • who need catheterization

So you do get more advanced cases, but that’s not my issue.

I still don’t think those cases don’t match the rigor of the hospital setting where you’re dealing with very sick and acute symptoms.

Please Note:
I am not saying school nursing is easy. I’m talking specifically about patient acuity versus the inpatient setting.

The One Reason Why New Nurses Working as School Nurses is a Bad Idea

In many cases, as a school nurse, you’re working alone and independently with no resource person to consult with.

This is an absolute no-go for me, and I’m the one who said that the new nurses must only work in med-surg thing was nonsense.

I also said that the notion that new nurses must start on night shift was also ridiculous.

The biggest difference between the above situations and school nursing is that regardless of if you start in the ER, ICU, or mental health as a new nurse or start on days, you still have support.

There’s a resource person nearby who can assist you if you need it.

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You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know as a New Nurse

This statement is true.

I look back on my first year when I started, and I cringe at some of the mistakes that I made or could have made.

That situation, I overreacted when it wasn’t a big deal. Or the situations I should have reacted to but didn’t know it really was a big deal.

Related: 25 Must-Know Tips for New Nurses

Will Working as a School Nurse Limit My Career Growth?

Some nurses will harp on how working in certain nursing specialties will limit your growth and keep you from doing anything else.

I disagree with that thought. I don’t believe working as a school nurse will limit your professional growth as a nurse.

Would it be easier for someone with step-down experience to get the ICU position over you if you have just school nursing experience?

Probably.

But I would argue they had the advantage over you anyway if you worked in med-surg and tried to get that ICU job.

Pro-Tip
In the example above, if you wanted to change over to ICU nursing, you could eventually find an ICU job.

But it might be easier to transition to med-surg or a step-down unit first and then transition to the ICU job.

If You Want to Work as a School Nurse, Don’t Let Me Stop You

With all of this said, if you really want to work as a school nurse, you should NOT let me or anyone else get in your way.

I understand there could be other reasons why you want school nursing. It could be a strong dislike of hospital nursing (I wouldn’t blame you) or convenience. This could be the job that works best with your schedule.

Regardless of your reasons, other new nurses have started in school nursing and have done just fine.

Just make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into and who your contact person is if you have any questions.

Find Your Next Nursing Job

Use our nursing job board to start looking for and applying to great nursing jobs near you.

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