A school nurse is very important to the daily operation of a school. Emergency and non-emergency situations occur that require the attention of a trained professional in the field of nursing. A school nurse has the luxury of performing his or her daily duties in a warm, relaxed environment. The assistance of a school nurse is greatly appreciated by every person on the school’s campus.
School Nurse Job Description
A school nurse provides healthcare for school-aged students within an educational system. He or she handles the daily health issues that occur with students who attend the school.
Daily responsibilities of a school nurse may include:
- Teaching classes on nutrition and health
- Assessing the status of a student’s immunization documentation and creating health plans for individuals with specific health needs
- Providing healthcare initiatives within the school
- Handling minor health issue that occur on a daily basis
- Dispensing students’ prescribed medications
- Providing information regarding the normal development of humans
- Providing regular dental, hearing, and vision screenings
A school nurse usually has an office in which to work and treat the students. Many school nurses many have several schools in which they work. They may have set hours that they attend each of their schools.
In addition to working with students, school nurses have other responsibilities, including making home visits, attending conferences, completing medical paperwork, and attending various school meetings.
How to Become a School Nurse
It is necessary to attend an accredited nursing or healthcare related program to become a school nurse. The minimum education that school districts require for a school nurse is a bachelor’s degree. It is possible to earn a bachelor’s degree by combining a diploma program or associate’s degree with additional courses to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
A school nurse must also complete clinical hours prior to graduation from a nursing program. Clinicals provide the opportunity to gain experience by working closely with other nurses and healthcare professionals.
A school nurse must also hold certification in nursing. It is required that a school nurse must gain the credential of registered nurse in order to be considered for a school position.
School Nurse Requirements
The certification requirements for a school nurse vary by state. According to the National Board of School Nurses (NBCSN), a school nurse must meet the following requirements:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree or higher in a health related or nursing field
- Pass a nursing certification exam (NCLEX-RN)
- Work in school health services or an area related to school health services
School districts hire only certified nurses for the position as school nurse. Potential school nurses must make sure that they complete the national exam for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) so that they can practice in a school setting as a registered nurse.
School Nurse Salary
A school nurse may make less money than a nurse working in a hospital or clinic, but the relaxed environment makes the job more rewarding. A school nurse does not have to work a 12-hour shift for a certain number of days as hospital nurses do; he or she works the normal school hours. The job is less stressful but very rewarding to nurses.
The median annual registered nurse salary for a school nurse is $35,037 to $55,361. The higher 10% earn $65,600 or more annually. A school nurse can also receive the same healthcare benefits and retirement benefits as teachers in the district. A school nurse can also join teacher unions that ensure that the salaries of nurses are comparable to teachers’ salaries.
School Nurse Jobs Outlook
The outlook for school nurse jobs are extremely promising and rewarding. This is one of the most sought after positions for nurses. They have the opportunity to work in a less stressful environment with friendly people.
Positions as school nurse are very hard to find since many people desire this job. Many retire from their nursing career as a school nurse instead of working in another setting such as a hospital or clinic.
Many nurses break into the area of nursing by substituting for a school nurse. It is one of the easiest ways to move into a school nurse position in a school district. Substituting allows nurses to network with other nurses in the school district, demonstrate their abilities under pressure, and gain experience in a school setting.
The school nurse has an important role in the welfare of school-aged children around the world. The position comes with challenges but is very rewarding for the right people. Nurses keep children healthy so that these young people can create a phenomenal future for the world.