The New Path
School nursing has been such a joy in my life. Upon first examining the specialty, I was first turned off by the financial adjustment my family would make. Initially I thought, "No way am I giving up my salary as a Cardiac Nurse Practitioner". This was a significant change as school nurses are paid in my state and district on the Professional Teaching scale. At face value, this is a considerable drop in pay. But after looking deeper at it, I have my summers off so there is no daycare expense for three months, I do not work on weekends, holidays, or SNOW DAYS and my schedule allows for me to be home to get all three of my children off the bus from their day!
More importantly, School Nursing has opened my eyes to a whole new area of nursing. I have autonomy that I never had before. My office is my own practice. A place where I can make significant impact of the lives of the children I see. I am able to create lasting healthy relationships with the children I serve, in many cases for up to seven years. I develop relationships with their families, the staff, the community and my fellow school nurses.
Part of working for a public school entity requires that you continue your education in-order to increase your salary. Gone are the days of performance bonuses but I would not trade it. The advanced education I have been so fortunate to pursue has again changed the way I practice nursing. This last year I have been so grateful to be part of a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Master in Education program. I have nearly completed the program (as I has already had several Doctoral credits to transfer in (story for another post...)) and the knowledge and tools I have gained along the way have transformed my way of looking at school nursing.
Wholehearted nursing is born from this SEL pedagogy. Everything I do in my office is with purpose and intent. Every interaction is driven from my innate healing ability but also my desire to help create wonderful and amazing human beings. I will include links to websites that can give you a more in depth look at what SEL is in terms of academic and classroom work but this blog will describe its purpose in nursing. Just a look at the buzz words: EMPATHY, VULNERABILITY, COMPASSION, KINDNESS. Wouldn't you want to be part of instilling these essential skills in your patients? Stay tuned and I will show you how I am doing it every day.