School nurse training allows the school nurse to pursue a career far more vital than just handing out aspirin and band-aids. She is a specialized individual within the venue of professional nursing, one who ensures the health, success, strength and stability of the young students at her site, as well as promoting a pervasive school environment of safety, care and healthful practices.
School Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice
A school nurse’s first duties are to attend to injuries, incidents and illnesses of the students in the school. She must not only be an outstanding nurse in impromptu treatment and triage situations, swiftly diagnosing and treating student health problems (both actual and potential), she must also be prepared to work with other staff members to increase advocacy for student well being.
In the latter area, she must be able to refer serious health problems to the proper medical facility (and ensure the student’s transportation thereto), and she must act as an educator for faculty and community, insuring their understanding of the need for healthy and sustainable choices in their lives. She should be able to establish an excellent rapport with her charges, and with her peers in the school faculty and the nursing field. She is, in short, the first “line of defense” on a student’s way to the doctor’s office. She is also the only health professional some children see in the course of their day, as many have parents who lack health insurance or a regular medical provider.
How to Train as a School Nurse
School nurse training begins early in your educational journey. If any form of nursing is your dream, the earlier you begin training, the better. You will need college level (or even high school level) classes in mathematics and the various sciences (with particular emphasis on biology and chemistry). Obviously attendance at a well-accredited nursing school is next, with particular emphasis on as much hands-on and on-site experience as possible; you should look for registered nursing training programs that offer extensive practical internships.
Your goal is to achieve a course completion as an RN (Registered Nurse). The Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree training program will include:
Standard curriculum for college level students (again, emphasis on the sciences and math). Expect completion in one to two years.
Advanced nursing courses in health assessment, child/infant care and types of nursing, as well as medical ethics and advanced chemistry and biology. This may take another year.
Clinical experience in hospital and medical facilities, another year at the very least.
How to Certify as an RN
School systems generally require that their nurses should be RNs. This procedure involves the following requirements:
You must pass the NCLEX-RN, an examination for “categories of client needs.”
You must have at least 1,000 hours clinical practice experience.
You must pass your state’s RN examination.
You should be on track to obtain a Nurse practitioner certificate and Master’s degree in Nursing.
How to Certify as a School Nurse
In addition to the RN exam, you must pass a certification examination as a school nurse. This exam carries the following requirements:
Certification by NBCSN and completion of 1,000 hours school nursing practice experience (this is in addition to the 1,000 hours completed as an RN; many states recommend at least 4,000 hours or three academic internship years).
Pass the Certification examination for school nurses.
Clinical Practice Requirements for Nurses
There are two kinds of clinical practice available for the school nurse to fulfill requirements in hours. They include direct clinical practice (nursing in the school setting, particularly with special needs children) and indirect clinical practice (the clinical supervision of school nurses, and consultation in school nursing that enhances the practice—these are usually within the purview of an RN).
School Nurse Demand and Salary
There is high demand for school nurses now, particularly in special needs settings and special education schools. This demand is likely to increase in direct proportion to the increasing number of students with special needs, disabilities or chronic/acute health problems, as well as the number of students who receive health care exclusively at their schools because their parents lack health insurance.
The median salary for school nurses begins at $35,197 to $55,622, depending on the state in which you are employed and the school for which you work. All you need to begin this rewarding career is to enroll in a school nurse training in a program near you.