According to the National Association of School Nurses, "school nursing is a specialized practice of professional nursing that advances the well-being, academic success and life-long achievement and health of students." School nurses work in elementary, middle and high schools, and even colleges. One of the main benefits of working as a school nurse is the schedule; school nurses work the same hours that school is in session, Monday through Friday with summers and holidays off.
What Do School Nurses Do?
School nurses ensure that students and staff meet the health requirements for attendance, such as vaccinations and routine health exams. School nurses also tend to injuries that occur on school grounds and assist students who become ill while at school. They can administer prescribed medication and, quite often, are responsible for storing that medication safely. If necessary, the nurse can advise that the student return home or even go to the hospital if advanced care becomes necessary.
“Perhaps one of the most important roles of the school nurse is to provide support and information to students as they progress through their education.”Perhaps one of the most important roles of the school nurse is to provide support and information to students as they progress through their education. The school years can be a difficult time for students, and many school nurses report great satisfaction in being able to encourage the students in building their ability to self-manage, self-advocate and adapt to their changing environment.
Students must also be educated on matters of nutrition, physical exercise, drugs and alcohol, and sexual health. The school nurse should be a reliable source of information and be able to provide students with this information in a non-judgmental manner.
State Certification Requirements for School Nurses
Some states require that school nurses obtain state certification before being able to practice. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) website has information about each states requirements, or you can check with your State Board of Nursing for guidance. The National Board for Certification of School Nurses also offers a certification exam that experienced nurses can earn. Current practice as a school nurse, unrestricted nursing license, and passing the certification exam are required before a nurse is certified.
Career as a School Nurse
For instance, as a school nurse, an individual will find that there is an exceptional amount of satisfaction associated with this position. These nurses work under the supervision of a school coordinator and mostly experience independent working conditions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports school nursing salaries around $57,950 in recent counts. This field reports lower earnings than other specialties, likely due to the long breaks during the summer and having a set schedule. Regardless, this field is one that draws in individuals that enjoy working with children. It maintains its place as one of the most popular nursing professions available.
Check out the websites for the National Association of School Nurses, the National Association of State School Board Consultants, Inc or the American Federation of Teachers for additional information.