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I want to become a school nurse!

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KiwiCarol KiwiCarol (New) New

I've just started my pre reqs for my school's ASN(school may drop this program and change to BSN) and I would like some advise on how to go about becoming a school nurse! Yes, I do love children and I think I would be happiest as a school nurse. I live in Alaska so I'm starting to think it's going to be hard to find a job as a school nurse, so what would you recommend for me to start out with? How does one become a school nurse? Do I sub as a school nurse first? Or simply ask a school to hire me after I get my degree? Should I start making connections now?

Any advise will be appreciated!

-Thank you

Red Kryptonite

Specializes in hospice. Has 3 years experience.

First, check the laws in your state. California has tons of requirements, including requiring RN and special certification, while next door in Arizona, LPNs can be school nurses.

I think school nursing as a first job is ill-advised. Some knowledge, skills, and judgement you only learn from experience and actually practicing as a nurse. Plus, new nurses need supervision and guidance, while school nurses are largely independent.

If you know school nursing is your goal, you can try to focus on getting peds experience for a year or two before applying to those jobs.

Farawyn

Has 25 years experience.

Many of the nurses here have subbed first. I haven't. I do have plenty of experience and I feel hung out to dry many times.

In NY the jobs are hard to get. The pay is not great, but the lifestyle trade off was good for me, I have 2 sick parents.

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing.

I went straight into school nursing after becoming licensed. But my first job was a sub position in which I got to work with another school nurse for some invaluable training. Most school nurse positions do not provide this.

The sub position helped me get the first time position I have now. In MA there are several school nurse positions, but they can be hard to get. Pay cut, yes (though some markets/districts pay much better than others), but I knew that going in and it is worth it for the schedule for me.

Blue_Moon, BSN, RN

Has 18 years experience.

We're required to have a BSN, school nurse certification, plus 5 yrs experience. However, subs just need a ADN and a year's experience I think. Each state has different requirements so find those out and work towards that. You could call some local school districts near you and ask about their need of school nurses and get info that way. Most get their foot in the door by subbing first but not all. I was hired straight in. You don't get much orientation and need to be able to assess well, think on your feet, work well with others, and be organized. If there's an emergency you're it until the paramedics arrive which is why most places require experience. The pay is one of the lowest in the nursing profession but you also get summers off which helps. Good luck!

T-Bird78

Has 6 years experience.

What is the average pay? The school district in which I live has an opening and the pay is $14,350 a year. Is that about right or should I go for it and ask for more money? I've got 8 years clinic/office experience with kids and adults but not specifically a pediatrician office.

txstudent6, BSN, RN

Has 4 years experience.

My mom is a school nurse! She first worked at a hospital then applied to a school since we were little then.She has her ADN but we live in Texas so I'm not sure about your state. I told her to go back to the hospital setting(bc they make more money) but she says she loves being the school nurse & her kids! Good luck :)

Blue_Moon, BSN, RN

Has 18 years experience.

Depends on the area. In our district past experience does not count and we're paid according to the teacher salary. I think $14,350 sounds very low. I'd look at teacher's starting point and go from there unless you aren't required to have a 4 yr degree in which case expect less.

SassyTachyRN

Specializes in Peds, Oncology. Has 4 years experience.

What is the average pay? The school district in which I live has an opening and the pay is $14,350 a year. Is that about right or should I go for it and ask for more money? I've got 8 years clinic/office experience with kids and adults but not specifically a pediatrician office.

That pay over 180 days is only $79/day which breaks down to like $13.17/hr for a 6hr day. That's insulting to me for 8 yrs experience. Our subs get paid $100/day. I make about 3x that salary... With 4 years total RN experience, 2 as a school RN and they did increase my base pay for my experience.

I'm in MN and here you have to have a BSN and public health nursing certificate before applying for the school nursing certificate. Pay is comparable to a teacher, 30-50k to start depending on your level of experience and the district. I think most states have an association for school nurses where you can look into the requirements, or look at job listings.

I talked to some school nurses at some screenings I did since I'm interested as well. I asked what experience they found the most helpful, expecting them to say peds or PICU, but they said that public health was really the most applicable. Makes sense, since a lot of the work is preventative, screenings, education, etc.

NutmeggeRN, BSN

Specializes in kids. Has 25 years experience.

Go for your BSN if that is a possibility. It is a little longer but worth it in the end. I had med surg experience as well as LTC and clinic experience. But what sealed it for me, was 5 years of Home health. I learned true autonomy and independent thinking and critical evaluation skills. School nursing, IMHO, is the bomb! I love my kids!