Across the country school nurses play an important role in ensuring the success of students in schools – moreso their health. A school nurse will aid students that are having difficulty learning or breathing and usually are the first responders of an emergency situation that may arise on school grounds. At times, they must be able to follow doctor’s orders, work well with a school environment, keep up on modern technology, practices and medically related knowledge to help student’s stay healthy and as always, prevent disease and accidents if possible.
The main goal of all school nurses is to support student learning by applying skills that promote student health and safety. In addition school nurses offer health counseling, health education and help with parental involvement. Being a school nurse is important and they will often treat things like asthma, diabetes, metal and sexual health issues all in the same day.
To be a school nurse, the National Association of School Nurses requires that you have a minimum of the following:
To take the school nurse certification exam you must be a registered nurse (RN) and be actively employed in the field. It is recommended (but not required) that RNs have completed at least three years of employment as a school nurse before taking the exam. The exam is offered in all states at different locations throughout the state and the cost is $300. The exam covers common problems that may occur, the appropriate interventions for various problems as well ethics and other nursing issues. The certificate is valid for five years. Retaking the exam can recertify you or having acquired sufficient continued education hours in the school nursing field can also get you recertified for only $200.
Courses required for nurse certification can be taken at universities or online. Courses help nurses gain expertise in mental health, public health and pediatric nursing. The four course requirements are:
Obviously school nurses will work within schools around the USA but there are a wide variety of school types available to choose from.
Choosing a school or type of school to work for can be an important decision for a school nurse. Often by choosing one school you will ultimately choose the age range of your patients – from children to adults – and what skills and knowledge they may have. Often the decision might be based on what is available and close to your home and that is quite normal. Most school nursing programs will help you find a job and have knowledge of many positions that are available that may not be open to the public.
The average yearly salary for a school nurse is approximately $44,000. Of course, the number will vary depending on the state in which you work and the resources of the particular school. Some private schools and universities will offer a more competitive salary but all schools need nurses so don’t let the salary be your only deciding factor when choosing where to work. Like most other nursing job you can expect your salary to increase the more years of experience you have and the longer you stay with one employer.