School nurses have a similar education to most other types of nurses at a certain level. They must be qualified as a nurse and study the same classes as those who initially work in a hospital. Of course, there are more specialized post-graduate qualifications and specialties which go beyond what registered nurses will study to get into the profession.
In this article, we look at school nurses, what they do, what type of person is suitable, and how to become one.
The Varied Role of a School Nurse
A school nurse has many different responsibilities within their varied role. Primarily they look to the health of the staff at the school and the children who are attending too. Their responsibilities include physical exam screening to check students for overall health, including auditory, vision and even mental health issues too. Beyond that, a school nurse might monitor glucose levels in vulnerable students, tend to a skin scrape and minor flesh wounds from playground or sporting activities, and deal with the risks from infectious diseases to avoid one spreading through the school.
Vaccination management to ensure students are protected per state requirements also falls under their remit. The health record for each student is also maintained to provide a medical history and a reference for the future too.
How Could You Become Qualified?
Just like with other nursing careers, it’s necessary to study for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a recognized university. When you want to become a school nurse, some people believe that only an Associate’s Nursing degree is required – this is incorrect; a bachelors is the right path to follow.
From there, it’s then necessary to pass the National Council Licensure Examination. The exam qualifies a person to work as a nurse in both the U.S. and Canada too. It’s possible to work in different states, but a separate license is required on a per state basis.
It’s important to appreciate that school districts look for experienced nurses for school nurse positions. This is because a nurse will often work alone, deal with a myriad of different situations in a given year, and be required to think on their feet. Typically, this requires someone with several years of nursing experience under their belt. If you want to know more about how to become a school nurse, check this guide from Global Health.
Who is Suited to the School Nurse Role?
Certainly, having an affinity for children is a major plus in the role. Kids try to put on a brave face when they’re injured, so it requires patience and understanding to treat them well.
As noted earlier, school nurses tend to have a good amount of nursing experience already. A well-rounded person who doesn’t rattle easily and can problem solve is very suitable to this type of role.
It’s also fair to say that shift work – either 8 hours or 12 hours in duration – is tough on the body. This is especially true for older nurses. However, school nurses work far more consistent daytime hours, which is less taxing on the body. Therefore, older nurses wishing to extend their career might find working at a school a welcome change.
The job of a school nurse is different than most people think it is. It requires more nursing experience and the ability to work alone without other healthcare professionals nearby. For nurses who relish the opportunity to grow in a new role, it can be an interesting new chapter in their healthcare career.