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Massachusetts School Nursing & DESE

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by NurseJamillah NurseJamillah, RN (Member)

1,758 Profile Views; 49 Posts

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Hi, 

I am a new grad nurse (graduated July 2018), writing this in June 2019.  My terminal goal is to be a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, with a focus on adolescent mental health.  I haven't begun that program yet, so the end is several years away.  I currently work on a very busy surgical floor, part-time, for 8 months now, which I accepted to develop general nursing skills and experience. I am hoping to transition away from this in the upcoming year and start to move towards either community nursing, school nursing, or something else that will allow more focus on my final goal.  

I think that I am reading the requirements correctly for Massachusetts, that for DESE licensure, you must work 2 years, FULL TIME, or full-time equivalent for such, as a nurse, first?  I think I may have misread the pathway that includes panel review, when I first began reading up on becoming a school nurse. I thought that certain education could substitute for the 2-year requirement with approval from the panel.  I already began applying and paid my licensure application fee, before I realized that (I think) the alternative pathway also includes the 2-year requirement? 

I tried calling them yesterday to clarify, but was unable to get through, and now I am spinning my wheels.  Any MA school nurses have any knowledge of the pathways to licensure? Thanks!

 

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AutumnDraidean has 20 years experience and specializes in School health, Maternal-Newborn.

81 Posts; 2,021 Profile Views

Regrettably I can't answer your question, however I can tell you that Behavioral Health Services North in PLattsburgh NY is looking for RNs and it might be a useful stepping stone for your longer term goals. Just google the company and you should find them. 

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k1p1ssk has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in pediatrics.

214 Posts; 4,109 Profile Views

Hi there! Fellow MA nurse and current school nurse. I think it's commendable that you want to work with the adolescent population, specifically in mental health. It is a specialty that is lacking professionals all over the country, Mass included.... However, I think if your ultimate goal is to be a MHNP, then working inpatient psych would better serve you. Find a psych hospital with a adolescent unit and work on becoming certified in pedi psych. 

Personally, It seems like it would be a waste of your time to pick up school nursing... Certification as a school nurse in MA will be pointless once you go the MH route. Most Mass school districts require DESE certification within 3-5 years of hire. My district requires initial licensure within 1 year of hire (1000 hours in school/pediatric nursing, and completion of 4 CE classes offered 3-4x per year through Boston University's SHIELD program)... Then, in order to obtain the professional licensure through DESE, you then need to either take the national certification exam through NASN or completion of a Masters in Nursing, Education, or "other relevant field". So, unless you're planning on spending 5+ years as a school nurse, before pursuing your ultimate goal, I'd skip it.

If you don't want to "Be a school nurse" but are interested in what it entails, find a few districts to become a substitute/per-diem school nurse in OR try and find a long-term sub nurse position. These pop up frequently due to maternity leave, medical leave, etc.

I'm not sure what part of the state you're from, but in Holyoke, MA there is Providence Hospital, and just over the border in VT, there is a large psych hospital called the Brattleboro Retreat. Both of these hospitals have inpatient pedi & adolescent units. If you're more interested in the hours of a school nurse, try looking for "partial hospitalization programs". These programs basically take the place of the school day for kids/adolescents whose mental health isn't so troubled that they need inpatient care 24/7. They go home at the end of the day and they usually spend at least 12 weeks in the program before "graduating" back to school. This would perhaps give you a good taste of both worlds!

Good luck!

 

 

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49 Posts; 1,758 Profile Views

Thank you for the detailed response! I am on Cape, and we seem to be saturated in so many areas!

If I do go the pmhnp route,  I have 7 years to complete the degree, and I wouldn't start that until Jan 2020.

I will look into your suggestions. Thank you so much.

 

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49 Posts; 1,758 Profile Views

On 6/24/2019 at 9:49 AM, k1p1ssk said:

Hi there! Fellow MA nurse and current school nurse. I think it's commendable that you want to work with the adolescent population, specifically in mental health. It is a specialty that is lacking professionals all over the country, Mass included.... However, I think if your ultimate goal is to be a MHNP, then working inpatient psych would better serve you. Find a psych hospital with a adolescent unit and work on becoming certified in pedi psych. 

Personally, It seems like it would be a waste of your time to pick up school nursing... Certification as a school nurse in MA will be pointless once you go the MH route. Most Mass school districts require DESE certification within 3-5 years of hire. My district requires initial licensure within 1 year of hire (1000 hours in school/pediatric nursing, and completion of 4 CE classes offered 3-4x per year through Boston University's SHIELD program)... Then, in order to obtain the professional licensure through DESE, you then need to either take the national certification exam through NASN or completion of a Masters in Nursing, Education, or "other relevant field". So, unless you're planning on spending 5+ years as a school nurse, before pursuing your ultimate goal, I'd skip it.

If you don't want to "Be a school nurse" but are interested in what it entails, find a few districts to become a substitute/per-diem school nurse in OR try and find a long-term sub nurse position. These pop up frequently due to maternity leave, medical leave, etc.

I'm not sure what part of the state you're from, but in Holyoke, MA there is Providence Hospital, and just over the border in VT, there is a large psych hospital called the Brattleboro Retreat. Both of these hospitals have inpatient pedi & adolescent units. If you're more interested in the hours of a school nurse, try looking for "partial hospitalization programs". These programs basically take the place of the school day for kids/adolescents whose mental health isn't so troubled that they need inpatient care 24/7. They go home at the end of the day and they usually spend at least 12 weeks in the program before "graduating" back to school. This would perhaps give you a good taste of both worlds!

Good luck!

 

 

I had today off and I started looking into these. I agree, the partial hospitalization program looks like it would prepare me better than being a school nurse. Thank you so much! I am so excited! More options! 

Side note, I have a family member who is now in prison, and probably wouldn't be if the family had known about these.  We struggled to try and keep him sectioned and treated for his mental health problems as an adolescent. 

Thanks again 

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