Do I want to be a school nurse?

  1. I'm currently a new grad working on a medsurg floor, but I know this is NOT what I want to do forever- doing it more so for experience. I think I want to be a school nurse, but I also have no clue what that's like. The "idea" is appealing, but I'm not sure if I even know what a school nurse does. Also, what steps would I take to become a school nurse, what does that path look like? What experience is needed? Any feedback is helpful!
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    About confusednurse10

    Joined: Oct '18; Posts: 2

    10 Comments

  3. by   SaltineQueen
    Med-Surge will give you a broad range of knowledge to get going. Peds could help but it's not necessary. Start subbing for the districts in your area. Depending on your state, you may or not need to be certified, which would be a BSN plus. Pay varies greatly, so know that going in. Sometimes if you're certified you could be on the teacher pay scale but not necessarily.
  4. by   MHDNURSE
    Try to get a few years of clinical experience under your belt. School nursing is not just band-aids and ice packs. There is a LOT of clinical assessment and on the spot judgement with no one to consult or bounce ideas off of. You have to feel confident in your nursing judgment and clinical assessment skills, and be ready and able to back up your decisions. I LOVE being a school nurse, but definitely feel isolated and there is real pressure in a crisis or emergency where I am 100% calling the shots and have to stand by my decisions. I am fortunate in that I work in a school with a great admin team who trust my decisions 100%. I recommend the above poster's suggestions for subbing in your district to get a feel for it. I come from many years in pediatrics and community health which for me has been the perfect combination to prepare me for this role.
  5. by   jlrm50
    I love my job but I had a lot of pediatric experience before taking this role. In my state you must hold a BSN as well as passing your National School Nurse Certification. My school houses many medically complex children so we are tasked with caths, tube feedings, rectal meds, etc. Your day is different every day and you are the only one calling the shots. Make sure you really hone those assessment skills because you are the one making life or death decisions. With all that being said, it is very rewarding and the schedule is awesome!
  6. by   Amethya
    As people said, Subbing is a good plan.
  7. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from confusednurse10
    I'm currently a new grad working on a medsurg floor, but I know this is NOT what I want to do forever- doing it more so for experience. I think I want to be a school nurse, but I also have no clue what that's like. The "idea" is appealing, but I'm not sure if I even know what a school nurse does. Also, what steps would I take to become a school nurse, what does that path look like? What experience is needed? Any feedback is helpful!
    You are gaining invaluable assessment skills, prioritization, time management, and people skills in this job. You don't say how long you've been there but attempt to stay a year. School nursing is essentially ambulatory care nursing mixed with public health nursing mixed with a little hurry up and wait. You have to have a good idea of what "normal" looks like (so you'll know what isn't normal). If you can take some time off in the summer, you could try camp nursing. It's not exactly the same but similar. Good luck!
  8. by   Amethya
    Quote from ruby_jane
    You are gaining invaluable assessment skills, prioritization, time management, and people skills in this job. You don't say how long you've been there but attempt to stay a year. School nursing is essentially ambulatory care nursing mixed with public health nursing mixed with a little hurry up and wait. You have to have a good idea of what "normal" looks like (so you'll know what isn't normal). If you can take some time off in the summer, you could try camp nursing. It's not exactly the same but similar. Good luck!
    Oh yeah Summer camps are the best way to gain some experience on that sense.
  9. by   OldDude
    Quote from MHDNURSE
    Try to get a few years of clinical experience under your belt. School nursing is not just band-aids and ice packs. There is a LOT of clinical assessment and on the spot judgement with no one to consult or bounce ideas off of. You have to feel confident in your nursing judgment and clinical assessment skills, and be ready and able to back up your decisions. I LOVE being a school nurse, but definitely feel isolated and there is real pressure in a crisis or emergency where I am 100% calling the shots and have to stand by my decisions. I am fortunate in that I work in a school with a great admin team who trust my decisions 100%. I recommend the above poster's suggestions for subbing in your district to get a feel for it. I come from many years in pediatrics and community health which for me has been the perfect combination to prepare me for this role.
    I often point out being a school nurse is like taking a nurse job in a free standing pediatric emergency room...except there is no doctor, or other nurses, or aides, or diagnostic equipment, or even anyone else there but you; the sole medical professional to deal every illness, injury, and condition from a runny nose to life threatening anaphylaxis and every imaginable, and every unimaginable possibility between. Personally, I prefer that environment for the 3 of us...me, myself, and I...but it is an environment that can oscillate between idleness and life threatening with one tick of the clock; an environment in which hundreds, thousands, of parents are relying on you to keep their precious ones safe at school.

    If this sounds like your personality then set your sights and go for it...good luck!! Keep us posted!
  10. by   mdavis2018
    Med-surg is really a great way to get exposer to a vast knowledge base
  11. by   Blue_Moon
    In our district you need at least five years of experience and a BSN. Then you can be hired and complete your school nurse certification in the first year. It generally pays much less as well so you will probably take a pay cut. You can call the board of ed near you and ask for the pay scale and what is required to sub or be hired and go from there.
  12. by   Alex_RN
    In my part of the country they take new grads. Some of my friends from school became school nurses and they love it but they also like the unique aspects, like the summers off and limited hours.

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