I went to a professional meeting last week and we covered the topic of “Why are nurses leaving the bedside?” I didn’t learn many new things (hours suck, understaffed, work-to-pay ratio is laughable, people prefer to move onto an NP position, etc.). I saw some of my old nursing school buddies, everyone exchanged hugs and ran through quick updates of their nursing lives. I felt ashamed that I had to respond, “I’m a school nurse” while everyone else listed off their cooler, more ambitious positions: nurse practitioner school, ICU in a level 1 trauma center, charge nurse in the ER.
I realized a few days later that I don’t feel like a real nurse anymore. Community nurses get no respect, they’re not seen as “real nurses” by other nurses and their positions are forgotten. Lots of people don’t know what a bedside nurse does but NO ONE, including school nurses themselves, knows what a school nurse does. Almost every day I think to myself, “Why am I even here? What a wasted income for a school district. A school nurse? It’s a joke.” My mom said one day, “It sounds like school nursing is a nursing vacation.” There’s no better way to say it.
I started to doubt if I made the right decision to leave the hospital. I even went so far as to start missing the hospital itself. I miss being the first to know about new procedures/protocols and having the chance to implement skills on a regular basis. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to start an IV again — I love sticking people. Instead, I’m controlling nose bleeds, applying band aids, taking temperatures and trying to communicate with parents who don’t give a sh*t.
It doesn’t take me long to reflect on how much I don’t want to go back to the hospital but — I still miss being respected. Miss having a reason to be depressed, anti-social and non-caring. Now, my only reason for being like that is that I was born that way.