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Help for New Nurses

Interview With a School Nurse

February 7, 2013

I sat down with Judy Cohen who is a school nurse at the Kiryas Joel Public school in Monroe NY. She has also been a school nurse in a private school. Altogether, she has around 16 years of school nursing experience.

1. So how did you get into school nursing?

I applied in the local newspaper for a part time school nursing position which turned into a full-time position shortly afterwards. After a number of years working at one school, a teacher from the school I was working in became a principal in a different school and offered me a job there.

School Clinic2. How does this position differ from other nursing jobs?

In this job I am very autonomous. I am in a different building than the health services supervisor of the school district and
as such I have many decisions which are totally up to me which would not be the case in a hospital setting.

3. What are the pros and cons of your job?

I really love everything about what I do. The satisfaction I get is unmatched. I like working with children. I enjoy working as a team member with the school administration regarding health policies. And I love calming down anxious parents assuring them that their most precious possession is in good hands.

4. What would you say to the newly graduated nurse looking for his/her first job?

Before getting into school nursing I worked in a hospital for over a decade. I had a wealth of experience and skill coming into the job. I would definitely recommend a newly graduated nurse first get some hard core experience first before becoming a school nurse as my job is extremely autonomous.

Just some facts to add into the mix:
School nurse salaries are usually on the lower range but the advantage is that you get the same schedule as your children, including all legal holidays. The physical labor involved is definitely lighter than other nursing options. And finally, if you like children, then this may be the job for you.

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February 10, 2013 at 3:23 am

It really sounds like the advantages outway the disadvantages of a being a school nurse. It sounds very rewarding to be a school nurse. The schedule is much easier on your life than working in a hospital while working longer hours. School nurses probably get the summer off too?

    February 12, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Some of the other benifits of being a school nurse is that even though the pay is less, you get the whole summer off. Many school nurses work during the summer as camp nurses. This not only lessons the pay gap but as an added bonus most camps will throw in free camp for your kids. If you are the adventurous type you can even work at a sleep-away camp which means free board and meals along with camp for the kids. Remember also that the benefits that come along with working for a public school include low cost health insurance, a government sponsored pension plan, all legal holidays off, and lets not forget snow days.
    Like I said in the post though, the job is very autonomous and one would do best to get a year of hardcore experience first but I do know more than one person who became a school nurse straight from nursing school and succeeded.

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