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Please Advise! Interested in School Nursing

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by Ankh Ankh Member Nurse

Has 1+ years experience.

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.

RatherBHiking, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Oncology, OB, School Nurse. Has 29 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.

ohiobobcat

Specializes in ED, School Nurse.

You don't need a certification but can get one through school nurse association.

I think most of us a referring to our state's DOE school nurse certification, not the school nurse specialty certification offered by NASN. The DOE certification is the one that varies by state, which I was not aware of when I started posting here. So like others said, definitely check with your state's DOE and see what is required. For example, my state requires school nurses to have a bachelor's degree. My bachelor's is not in nursing, but in a health related field so I am considered "certified" by the DOE (with other requirements met).

momto5RN

Specializes in Sub-Acute, School Nursing, Dialysis.

This was very interesting to read. This is my second year in school nursing. I'm a relatively new RN and before school nursing I worked nights in sub acute. I'm also a mom to five little ones so I completely understand wanting to stay home with your children. I honestly wish I could as my youngest is 3 months old.

Anywho, I agree with all of the above. I'm going to be completely honest here, I love the job, it's pretty relaxed next to working a busy sub acute floor. That's not to say that emergencies do not arise because they do of course. I'm still not 100% comfortable being the sole medical professional in the building. Most days are great for me with minor issues. But when the sh*t hits the fan, it would be nice to have another nurse alongside me. I attend as many school nurse workshops as possible. To the point here, maybe you can get a part time or per diem job in the hospitals, sub acute or home health to keep up with your skills and such. Also get into subbing as mentioned before. I started out subbing too and loved it!!! Wishing you all the best!

momto5RN

Specializes in Sub-Acute, School Nursing, Dialysis.

Forgot to mention, I work for a private school so the requirements are different than with public schools. I am not required to be a certified school nurse or have my bachelor's. I am an RN with an Associate's degree. I do plan on going back for my BSN in the near future though and will someday get certified.

OldDude

Specializes in Pediatrics Retired.

Fortunately Texas doesn't require a school nurse certification. I am "just" an ADN. Probably not even a real nurse. Just the thought of going back to school for a BSN or some other academia makes me want to fax in my deckhand application for Deadliest Catch.

momto5RN

Specializes in Sub-Acute, School Nursing, Dialysis.

Fortunately Texas doesn't require a school nurse certification. I am "just" an ADN. Probably not even a real nurse. Just the thought of going back to school for a BSN or some other academia makes me want to fax in my deckhand application for Deadliest Catch.

Lol, I am with you OldDude!! It was a very hard and awful experience for me going through my ADN program so I definitely need the break! Unfortunately though, many places where I live want you to have a BSN. On one of my interviews I went on, the lady wouldn't even talk with me because I didn't have a bachelor's degree. And we certainly are real nurses!! =)

Fortunately Texas doesn't require a school nurse certification. I am "just" an ADN. Probably not even a real nurse. Just the thought of going back to school for a BSN or some other academia makes me want to fax in my deckhand application for Deadliest Catch.

Same here. I would like to go back to school for my BSN but just can't justify the expense of it at this point in my life (late 40's) certainly don't want to take any loans out that I will not be able to pay off till after I retire. If my district ever requires it I will deal with it then....Right now I have got 2 kids to help get thru college - we have made the decision to help them as much as we can, I don't want them to have a ton of debt when they finish.