Taking your nursing skills and working in a school setting is an immensely rewarding pursuit. A school nurse job offers a more stable schedule, as well as the fun and excitement of working with young people on a daily basis. Not only are you instrumental in keeping children safe and healthy, but you can also provide important information related to diet and exercise.
The first step toward becoming a school nurse is to decide what setting is most appealing to you. Most schools, ranging from public elementary to private universities hire nurses, and you should focus on an age group and type of organization when looking for a school nursing job. As the National Association of School Nurses reported, certification and state-specific credentials are required for most schools.
Here's a little bit of a school nurse job description and a few other helpful things to keep in mind:
The benefits of a school nurse job
Becoming a school nurse can be very appealing because it is a way to apply your nursing skills in a setting that is often more relaxed and community-based. Working with young people can be especially fun and if you stay with a school long enough, you have an opportunity to build strong, lasting relationships.
The Inner Body stated that school nurses do so much more than administer bandages or check temperatures. They work with school administrators and teachers to develop important standards for education related to physical and mental health. Likewise, school nurses are instrumental in creating initiatives and programs that can be implemented throughout the school year. These include anti-bullying campaigns, social wellness programs and many other critically important measures.
School nurses can also enjoy having a predictable schedule. Following an academic calendar makes it easy to plan vacations, and because the school nurse job description rarely if ever includes working in the evening, you can take classes or pursue a hobby throughout the year. This allows for stability and flexibility, which can be very important to some nurses.
Other things to know
According to Salary.com, the median rate of pay for school nurses in the U.S. was $46,293 in 2016. There's a lot of variability in compensation, however as even neighboring districts can have very different budgets. The most common salaries for school nurses fell between $36,983 and $58,438, with some individuals making even more. With evenings and summers open, however, a school nursing job offers the opportunity to pursue additional employment opportunities if desired
These jobs require a wide range of knowledge and nursing skills. Knowledge of pediatrics, mental health, public or population health or even laws and policies surrounding education will be helpful, according to The Inner Body. As school nurses gain experience, they may be involved in creating policies that affect an entire district and can become key resources in promoting healthy lifestyles for students and families. There may also be opportunities to collaborate with other school nurses or healthcare professionals and enact larger initiatives or research projects.