Experience for School Nurses


Hi There,

I am interested in school nursing and wondering what kind of clinical background is recommended for school nurses. I have med-surg experience, plus several years of pediatrics experience in a primary care setting, along with experience in a few other roles not related to pediatrics.

Specifically, I'm wondering whether a school nurse should have an emergency nursing background/ experience. I feel comfortable and confident with routine day-to-day care related to pediatrics, but not as confident when it comes to the potential for an emergency situation.

School nurses, please describe your clinical backgrounds, the typical day in the life of a school nurse, and what clinical areas would best prepare a nurse for school nursing.

Thank you!

Specializes in School Nurse.

I came from the peds section of a "doc in a box" (urgent care). I think that's pretty close to what you're going to see. Very few "emergencies" but lots of primary complaints. Any true emergency gets a 911 call here in addition to what I can do pending their arrival.


41 Posts

Thank you, BettyGirard! I would love to get some experience in an urgent care setting. What I'm finding is that most hiring managers for urgent care settings prefer you have some experience in an Emergency Department, which seems reasonable- but not experience that I have! So I suppose I need to consider how many clinical steps I'm willing/ able to take in order to reach a point where I would feel comfortable/confident in an emergent or urgent scenario.

Thank you for the reply!


217 Posts

Specializes in Peds, Neuro, Orthopedics. Has 3 years experience.

You don't need ER or urgent care experience, you will call 911 if stuff hits the fan. I wish I had gotten psych experience before going into school nursing, because parents, teachers, and principals are crazy. :yes:

(But seriously, I dealt with a lot of students with psych issues, from passing out from panic attacks to a schizophrenic student hearing voices and threatening to jump...)


41 Posts

Thank you, that's actually quite helpful insight. It sounds like you're no longer working in the field of school nursing- if that's the case, I'd be interested in knowing why you left- in your opinion, what are rewarding parts of the job, and what are most challenging? Thanks so much!


67 Posts

Has 7 years experience.

I didn't have ER experience (in fact, only 1 of the 6 nurses in my district did have it). I worked med/surg for 2 years, then a brief stint in home health care, then wanted to try school nursing so I started subbing in 3 area districts. Pay for subbing isn't great, but if you can manage it, that will be your biggest help in getting your foot in the door and finding out whether it's right for you. I learned a lot about the handling of urgent situations from A) my coworkers and stories they shared, and B) our district's protocol book. We basically get the ball rolling on initial treatment (administer Epi-pen, stop bleeding, start CPR, etc) while waiting for EMT's to arrive, then they take over. I don't mean to make it sound easy or stress-free, because it's not - but I'm just saying you don't need ER experience. Subbing would be the very best experience. Good luck to you!


41 Posts

Thank you very much, RedKat! Very, very helpful. Maybe it's not so far out of reach after all! :-)