Schools often hire nurses as part of the academic facility. School nurses administer medical care on a regular basis for both school staff and students on campus. School nurses play a bigger role than just ensuring the health and wellness of the entire campus population, but they are also involved in ensuring safety and promoting health, and work towards the improvement of the development of the students in areas which health and medicine are integrated.
What is a school nurse, and what do they do?
The health of the students and all the staff in the academic institution are a school nurse’s concern. When students or staff gets sick or injured in the school premises, they administer medical care, monitor symptoms and ailments, and record vital signs. Usually, common and minor ailments such as stomachaches, fever, diarrhea, and runny noses are to be treated on a regular basis.
But occasionally there will be injuries ranging from minor to serious, such as broken bones and asthma attacks. In some cases, putting students in quarantine is also part of the school nurse’s responsibility to prevent any outbreak of diseases such as chickenpox, sore eyes, or measles, to name a few. Aside from that, they are also responsible for monitoring the eye and ear health of the students.
Aside from administering health care, they are also educators in promoting good health and proper nutrition. They are trained to communicate with students of all ages, especially to ensure that they fully understand the importance of taking good care of themselves and how to avoid acquiring certain illnesses.
In other schools, they may also hold immunization drives such as influenza, in which school nurses participate actively.
School safety is also another area where school nurses can contribute their knowledge, skills, and expertise too. In times of disease outbreaks on campus or in the city, school nurses are involved in preparing for disease prevention initiatives and precautions.
Where do school nurses work?
School nurses work in academic institutions, whether it be preschool, elementary, secondary level, as well as colleges and universities. Schools have campus clinics, and these are where school nurses are stationed and on call in case any untoward incidents and emergencies take place during school hours.
Aside from schools, school nurses can also work in facilities and government agencies that have children, such as juvenile correctional facilities or orphanages.
How to become a school nurse?
To be a school nurse, one must first become a registered nurse (RN) and acquire the proper certification. But, it is recommended that you acquire a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). After 4000 hours of clinical practice, you will need to take the School Nurse certification exam from the National Board for Certification of School Nurses.
How much do they make?
An average salary of a school nurse ranges from $29,000 to $37,000 per year. Salaries are also competitive, and usually school nurses are privileged to receive several bonuses and benefits. Not only that, school nurses can enjoy more regular hours than other types of nurses who are on call even at odd hours of the day. School nurses follow the same schedule as the students.
What can you expect from being a school nurse?
As a school nurse, you must genuinely have an affinity for working and interacting with students ranging from young preschoolers to teenagers, especially if you’re designated in a school that encompasses all school levels.
You must be a patient individual that can deal with even the rowdiest students. Communicating with the students’ parents is another aspect that’s to be expected as part of your roles. You will need to notify the parents if the child needs to picked up from school, and be able to explain his or her condition properly.
Aside from this, teaching responsibilities can also be assigned to you, and you must be able to be trained and skilled in basic teaching principles.
Accidents and injuries are common in the school campus, so you must be able to work under pressure and be prepared for whatever comes in through your clinic’s door, whether it be a case that just needs basic first aid, or if it’ll require a trip to the hospital’s emergency room.
What nursing organizations are associated with this profession?
By being affiliated with school nursing organizations, you can find new avenues in advancing your careers by getting connections and improving your skills by finding the right organizations and communities. Among the most notable organizations for school nurses are as follows: American School Health Association (ASHA), The Overseas School Health Nurses Associations (OSHNA), and The National Association of School Nurses (NASN).
What are the related careers within nursing?
As long as you are a registered nurse (RN), you may also try other related fields aside from School Nursing, such as Missionary Nursing, Military Nursing, or becoming a Certified Midwife.