A school nurse responds to children in need of immediate health care while in school premises. He/she promotes healthy living by addressing health-related issues of the school population, which may include students, teachers and other school staff. School nurses inform parents and caregivers of their roles at home in keeping their children safe and healthy, call parents during emergencies and treat minor injuries.
A school nurse assess the health needs of the entire school community by developing and implementing health plans; provides confidential health advice and proper care for children with special cases and disabilities; supports, advises, counsels and refers children with mental health care problems to experts and promotes good parenting skills by teaching parents health programs. School nurses also give advice to parents, caregivers and school faculty and staff on how to deal with illnesses and control of infectious diseases; implement immunization programs; provide school-based lectures on personal, social, and health care education, and assist teachers in dealing with children who have special healthcare needs such as asthma, diabetes and epilepsy.
Education and Training Requirements:
An associate’s degree in nursing is required for all school nurses. They must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse and be registered with the local state. School nurses who obtain continuing education to advance their careers may take various medical career paths, specializing in a disease or a particular hospital function, such as an intensive care unit nurse.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements:
Nurses must be able to respond well in emergency medical situations. They must have good communication skills in order for both the child and parent to understand the medical condition of the student. More so, they shall be conducting counseling and crisis interventions if needed. Nurses must also practice ethnic and cultural sensitivity as well as be familiar with health laws, special education legislation and services. Most importantly, they must know the scope of the school nursing practice.
Some nurses may divide their time between a number of different schools in a district especially if the school size is relatively small. The workload is not as stressful unlike in hospitals and clinics as a lot of idle time is present during school hours. They are not required to be on-call and do not have to do overtime duties. They do not need to work during holidays or vacation days when schools are closed and they’re not required to work at night. School environments are safer compared to hospital environments as the possibility of contracting contagious diseases is less.
The average annual salary of a school nurse is $44,000. Bonuses are not usually given but they become members of the State Employees Retirement System or the Public Employees Retirement System which provides them benefits such as retirement income, disability pay, vision aide and dental care.