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.
2. 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.