How Do I Become a School Nurse?

School NurseA school nurse is responsible for the health and welfare of the students and staff members of a school during the open hours of operation. It is a big responsibility. A nurse manages the care of minor injuries/problems to overseeing the care of chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, or other debilitating diseases. Individual health care plans must be formulated for individuals with serious physical and mental health problems. A school nurse must administer medications and other treatments as set forth by the individual’s physician. Preparing medical reports, teaching courses on various health care topics, handling emergency situations, and doing so while complying with the laws of the state, are listed among the numerous duties of a school nurse.

What are the qualifications of a school nurse?

To work as a school nurse in most states, a nurse must possess an Associate Degree (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science Degree (BSN) in Nursing. Passing the National Council Licensure Examination is necessary to qualify for the position. This exam tests a nurse’s medical competency to carry out common procedures and treatments related to nursing care. For nurses who have not yet attained the level of registered nurse (RN), there are many online courses that can be taken to achieve this goal. These courses can be scheduled at the convenience of a person who must work, and/or raise a family.

How much experience does a school nurse need?

In a hospital setting, if you have an emergency, you can usually count on the assistance of other nurses in the unit to assist you through the emergency. However, in a school setting, you work alone and must have enough clinical experience to handle any type of emergency. It is not mandatory, but taking an advanced course in life support (ACLS) will give a nurse more confidence in handling emergencies.

Advanced education is readily available online to better prepare a nurse to work in a school setting. These courses include special issues related to managing and preventing diseases, assessment of health issues, and will assist the nurse in obtaining their optimum level of functioning as a school nurse.

After functioning as a school nurse for three years and possessing a BSN in nursing, it is recommended that a nurse should obtain a certification from the National Board for Certification of School Nurses. This certification serves as proof of a nurse’s competency to work as a school nurse.

Related Resource: Become a School Counselor

Future employment predictions available for a school nurse

The National Center for Education Statistics shows an increase in enrollments of students from 1997 to 2011 and predicts an additional increase in enrollment for pre-kindergarten through high schools from 2011 to 2022; therefore, an increase in enrollments will create more job openings for school nurses.

Why should someone consider employment as school nurse?

A school nurse works with administrations and faculty members to assist in setting standards for health related courses or programs. When a person is contemplating becoming a nurse, or is already a nurse, and is undecided as to what field of nursing to enter, a career as a school nurse can be a very rewarding profession.