School nursing positions offer some of the most humorous moments in a nurse's life. Unfortunately, it can also present feelings of helplessness and heartbreak. Nurses are trained to recognize warning signs of abuse and other less than ideal home environments, only to be met with resistance from school officials and police or social services officials to act upon those warning signs. It has less to do with these officials not wishing to act, but rather, they must proceed with caution and certainty. Unfortunately, the little ones are the ones who must endure it until there is just enough cause for authorities to move forward. Not surprisingly, those children who disclose to school nurses, or who have come into the nurse's office with other ailments, and the signs are then noticed by the nurse often put him or her on a pedestal. They may cling to the one person who has been kind and attentive. It can take a toll on the nurse and is often emotionally exhausting. Still, these school nurses come day after day and year after year. Most will tell you they cannot imagine any other career. Human services jobs are filled by those who believe they can make a difference in the society. Just as with nurses, human services personnel must have a high tolerance for the less than ideal members of their communities. They are often confronted by angry parents who have lost their children due to negligence, abuse or other dangerous situations in a home. They often must bite their tongues when these children are returned to the parents, only to watch the cycle repeat itself weeks later with the reemergence of the child who had already been removed from the home at one point. But those in this field know they will come full circle when presented with an option to rescues themselves from the heartbreak associated with human services, choose to stay despite the cost to their own psyches. They continue their careers that promise frustration, heartbreak and long, exhausting days.
Volunteer program manager jobs are usually filled by current volunteers who have shown commitment and stamina for the work they do. It is not surprising that there is a high turnover rate. Many discover the added stress of a management role is just too much and too overwhelming. As their volunteers attempt to help those who can't help themselves, program managers must find a way to help the volunteers while remaining vigilant to the signs of burn out. These are sometimes paid positions; but all too often, they are rarely paid salaries that are commensurate with their work, if they receive salaries at all. Indeed choosing to dedicate any of your time must be a labor of love.
Choosing such noble roles in your communities is a commitment that should not be taken lightly. Understanding what to expect is key to making an informed decision before undertaking any role within your local school systems as a volunteer or as a paid staff member. The numbers continue to rise in the number of children who endure strained existences at home. Often, many kids simply try to blend into the background at home in their efforts to avoid being singled out by an abusive parent or one who is using drugs or alcohol. Sadly, these dynamics are only the tip of the iceberg and the home situations are often more horror-filled. Often, a school nurse is on the forefront of recognizing these kids.
Most school nurses are LPN and account for around 11% of all licensed practical nurses. Nursing remains the fastest growing industry and the job market for both LPN and RN (registered nurses) is considered excellent. On average, LPN across all sectors earn on average $31,000, although baseline salaries vary from region to region throughout the country. A degree is required prior to entering into this field.
In comparison, those choosing human services, can expect to earn slightly higher incomes. Those in the social services occupations have varying options when creating their own niche in this occupation. Some roles include substance abuse and behavioral counselors, mental health counselors, social workers, human services assistants, probation officers and others. Unfortunately, many school systems faced with major cutbacks have had to sacrifice their district counselors and have instead opted to move the needs formerly met by these personnel to either guidance counselors or school nurses. The need for these human services continue to rise, and is in direct correlation with the number of drug addicts, those who have mental issues and those with poor family structures. Some experts say this is the single biggest threat facing this country.
Clearly, these positions, both voluntary and paid, have no glamour associated with them. They are filled with stress and uncertainty for those they care for. Still, those who choose these occupations insist it was one of the best decision of their lives.