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Please Advise! Interested in School Nursing

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by Ankh Ankh Member Nurse

Has 1+ years experience.

I have been thinking about becoming a school nurse for some time now. I am a former classroom teacher and after I got my nursing license and BSN, worked in med-surg for a year. Now I am taking some time off from paid work to be a SAHM. Thinking about next career steps, I believe in the power of health education and also teaching the young how to prevent the development of health problems through healthy habits. Could those of you with experience in school nursing please share your experiences and advice on this specialty? What are the pros and cons? What if I didn't especially love my peds rotation (understatement of the century) but love working with children? Are there opportunities to educate in a school nursing role? Do I have to be certified as a school nurse? Thank you so very much for any insight you can provide.

I am a lurker but I wanted to comment because I am former teacher turned med/surg nurse turned school nurse. I love being back in a school! I love the schedule and the environment is just so much more positive than a hospital. Being a school nurse is very different from being a teacher, though, not in a good/bad way just different. I also hated my peds rotation in nursing school but I work in a high school so my students feel more like adults than kids anyway. I didn't need a certification to get this job (Texas) but I think some states require it. I get tons of opportunity to educate because my principal expects me in the classrooms a lot teaching (partially because of my teaching background and partially because my clinic is fairly slow, small school). In your interviews emphasize your teaching background, that you are familiar with IEPs, ARDs, 504s, discipline, how important it is that students are in class as much as possible (as long as they arent contagious of course), almost all principals seemed very exciting about my teaching background. Also, keep your teaching certification current, I think that is a great thing to put on your resume and its much easier to keep up with it then than to let it lapse and and try to renew it later. Plus, I see it as having a back up plan in case budget cuts/other circumstances eliminate my position. Good luck!

Flare, ASN, BSN

Specializes in school nursing, ortho, trauma.

I would inquire with your state. If you already have a teaching certificate you may not be obligated to get a school nurse cert. It's possible that you may have to take some school nursing classes and not the entire thing or possible that you don't need any of it due to the teaching cert. So it's worth checking into

Farawyn

Has 25 years experience.

I have been thinking about becoming a school nurse for some time now. I am a former classroom teacher and after I got my nursing license and BSN, worked in med-surg for a year. Now I am taking some time off from paid work to be a SAHM. Thinking about next career steps, I believe in the power of health education and also teaching the young how to prevent the development of health problems through healthy habits. Could those of you with experience in school nursing please share your experiences and advice on this specialty? What are the pros and cons? What if I didn't especially love my peds rotation (understatement of the century) but love working with children? Are there opportunities to educate in a school nursing role? Do I have to be certified as a school nurse? Thank you so very much for any insight you can provide.

Hi!

Welcome.

I would go to your state nursing board and see what's what.

I hated my Peds rotation too, but I work in Gr 7-12.

Keep us posted!

MrNurse(x2), ADN

Specializes in IMC, school nursing. Has 28 years experience.

You may want to seriously self evaluate the nurse part of school nurse. Your prior experience as a teacher makes you very comfortable in the school part of the title, but one year MS experience leaves the nurse part uncomfortable. You will be the sole health care personnel in the building. Your assessment and triage skills must be well developed, which is impossible to do in one year, save prior experience as an EMT or Paramedic. I admire your desire to be a SAHM, I really do respect it, but understand that time away from nursing, especially with only one year experience, is viewed negatively by employers. Nursing is a dynamic career that progresses quickly and time away from it shows massive changes in practice. Sometimes the answer is not no, just not right now. That may be where you are. I don't want to be the wet blanket, but sometimes some things can't be rushed, and experience is one of those. Good luck in your pursuits.

Farawyn

Has 25 years experience.

I am a lurker but I wanted to comment because I am former teacher turned med/surg nurse turned school nurse. I love being back in a school! I love the schedule and the environment is just so much more positive than a hospital. Being a school nurse is very different from being a teacher, though, not in a good/bad way just different. I also hated my peds rotation in nursing school but I work in a high school so my students feel more like adults than kids anyway. I didn't need a certification to get this job (Texas) but I think some states require it. I get tons of opportunity to educate because my principal expects me in the classrooms a lot teaching (partially because of my teaching background and partially because my clinic is fairly slow, small school). In your interviews emphasize your teaching background, that you are familiar with IEPs, ARDs, 504s, discipline, how important it is that students are in class as much as possible (as long as they arent contagious of course), almost all principals seemed very exciting about my teaching background. Also, keep your teaching certification current, I think that is a great thing to put on your resume and its much easier to keep up with it then than to let it lapse and and try to renew it later. Plus, I see it as having a back up plan in case budget cuts/other circumstances eliminate my position. Good luck!

Hi!!!!

Stop lurking and come out to play!

I would inquire with your state. If you already have a teaching certificate you may not be obligated to get a school nurse cert. It's possible that you may have to take some school nursing classes and not the entire thing or possible that you don't need any of it due to the teaching cert. So it's worth checking into

:inlove:

Farawyn

Has 25 years experience.

You may want to seriously self evaluate the nurse part of school nurse. Your prior experience as a teacher makes you very comfortable in the school part of the title, but one year MS experience leaves the nurse part uncomfortable. You will be the sole health care personnel in the building. Your assessment and triage skills must be well developed, which is impossible to do in one year, save prior experience as an EMT or Paramedic. I admire your desire to be a SAHM, I really do respect it, but understand that time away from nursing, especially with only one year experience, is viewed negatively by employers. Nursing is a dynamic career that progresses quickly and time away from it shows massive changes in practice. Sometimes the answer is not no, just not right now. That may be where you are. I don't want to be the wet blanket, but sometimes some things can't be rushed, and experience is one of those. Good luck in your pursuits.

Valid.

iggywench, ADN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, school nursing. Has 10 years experience.

I am also a former teacher, then pedi triage nurse in private practice, and am in my fourth year of school nursing now. I love school nursing, and think it is a great next step for a former teacher. There are so many opportunities to educate the students, and I love the school environment. It's great to still be on the school schedule, and not be responsible for state testing, grades, and lesson plans. I did let my teaching certificate lapse, and wish that I wouldn't have.

Another opportunity that combines the two fields is to teach the CTE classes in health science to high school students. I've looked into the certification, and it's not that difficult. If you still have a current teaching certificate, you may be able to just take a test to add on that certification. I'm in Texas, and we don't have a requirement to be certified in school nursing here.

OldDude

Specializes in Pediatrics Retired.

I think if your greatest ambition to becoming a school nurse is to teach the young how to prevent development of health problems through healthy habits...you are going to be disappointed. Yes, there are opportunities to educate in the role of school nursing but the multitude of health related issues, injuries, medication administration, and so on, and so on, will command most of your attention. Of course there are some exceptions where school nurses teach such classes but those situations are few and far between. Otherwise, for me, the Pros certainly outweigh the Cons regarding school nursing. Sounds like you may have a young child/children; if that's the case school nursing is a perfect fit. Good Luck.

Farawyn

Has 25 years experience.

I think if your greatest ambition to becoming a school nurse is to teach the young how to prevent development of health problems through healthy habits...you are going to be disappointed. Yes, there are opportunities to educate in the role of school nursing but the multitude of health related issues, injuries, medication administration, and so on, and so on, will command most of your attention. Of course there are some exceptions where school nurses teach such classes but those situations are few and far between. Otherwise, for me, the Pros certainly outweigh the Cons regarding school nursing. Sounds like you may have a young child/children; if that's the case school nursing is a perfect fit. Good Luck.

BOOM!

Ankh

Has 1+ years experience.

Thank you! This is great advice and glad to know I'm not the only teacher to nurse transplant! That is great insight keeping my teaching certificate. I am going to look into that.

Ankh

Has 1+ years experience.

I would inquire with your state. If you already have a teaching certificate you may not be obligated to get a school nurse cert. It's possible that you may have to take some school nursing classes and not the entire thing or possible that you don't need any of it due to the teaching cert. So it's worth checking into

Thank you! I had no idea that a teaching certificate could help in this way.

Ankh

Has 1+ years experience.

You may want to seriously self evaluate the nurse part of school nurse. Your prior experience as a teacher makes you very comfortable in the school part of the title, but one year MS experience leaves the nurse part uncomfortable. You will be the sole health care personnel in the building. Your assessment and triage skills must be well developed, which is impossible to do in one year, save prior experience as an EMT or Paramedic. I admire your desire to be a SAHM, I really do respect it, but understand that time away from nursing, especially with only one year experience, is viewed negatively by employers. Nursing is a dynamic career that progresses quickly and time away from it shows massive changes in practice. Sometimes the answer is not no, just not right now. That may be where you are. I don't want to be the wet blanket, but sometimes some things can't be rushed, and experience is one of those. Good luck in your pursuits.

Point taken and your insight is appreciated. I am certainly aware about how employers look at time spent away from nursing for parenting or any other reasons. Do you recommend additional hospital based experience prior to this transition? That is something I am open to though I doubt I would take on a pediatric nursing role in a hospital setting. Or are there other settings that could prepare me for the role of school nurse?

MrNurse(x2), ADN

Specializes in IMC, school nursing. Has 28 years experience.

The fastest route to experience would probably be ER. That would expose you to pediatrics without the concentration of an exclusive peds floor. Triage really is the primary skill used in the school setting. Your attitude is amazing and your willingness to accept constructive criticism is refreshing. You will feel so much more comfortable getting this experience and the payoff is worth it.

Blue_Moon, BSN, RN

Has 18 years experience.

Old Dude is right on point. However, if you left teaching then you probably don't want to do it all the time anyway! I rarely teach. Not that the teachers wouldn't let me more often, it's just I'm too busy with other job duties. In our district school nurses must have 5 years experience. It does not have to be in Peds. It's just experience as a nurse to help you prepare for whatever may come up as the only medical person in the building. Anything like ER, med-surg, urgent care, home health, and areas like that would be helpful. You may have to administer tube feedings, trach suction, catherize, give insulin shots, administer emergency medication, etc. You should also get your foot in the door an substitute if you can. Good luck!

Ankh

Has 1+ years experience.

The fastest route to experience would probably be ER. That would expose you to pediatrics without the concentration of an exclusive peds floor. Triage really is the primary skill used in the school setting. Your attitude is amazing and your willingness to accept constructive criticism is refreshing. You will feel so much more comfortable getting this experience and the payoff is worth it.

Thank you so much for this tip. I really appreciate the feedback you have provided, especially the safety risks involved in a person with less experience being the only health professional on site. I've made a few mistakes in med surg, thankfully not harmful to patients and that was adults and hard to deal with. I could never live with causing harm to a child. So I really truly appreciate you helping me understand the risks involved and cannot thank you enough.

Ankh

Has 1+ years experience.

Old Dude is right on point. However, if you left teaching then you probably don't want to do it all the time anyway! I rarely teach. Not that the teachers wouldn't let me more often, it's just I'm too busy with other job duties. In our district school nurses must have 5 years experience. It does not have to be in Peds. It's just experience as a nurse to help you prepare for whatever may come up as the only medical person in the building. Anything like ER, med-surg, urgent care, home health, and areas like that would be helpful. You may have to administer tube feedings, trach suction, catherize, give insulin shots, administer emergency medication, etc. You should also get your foot in the door an substitute if you can. Good luck!

These are great suggestions! Thank you!! And substituting - what a great way to scope out this specialty more closely.

foggnm

Has 8 years experience.

You don't need a certification but can get one through school nurse association. There are opportunities for teaching and health education but most of school nursing is little stuff with maybe a few kids with more complex health needs. It is nothing like 'real' healthcare or hospital nursing. In fact, I'd venture to say it is isn't healthcare, it is more part public health (immunization compliance) and part health coordination (between the school, parent, and nurse). School nursing is pretty chill, and a good lifestyle. It is OK if you didn't like your peds rotation. I did all adult stuff in the hospital now do middle school. The nice thing in the school is your 'patient' interactions are very brief, you're not taking care of someone for 12 hours. You have a lot of leeway in school nursing (like setting up education, dental clinics, shot clinics, etc) that are beyond your required duties.