School nursing can be defined as a specialized practice of public health nursing which seeks to protect and promote student health, foster normal development, and advance academic success. More specifically, a school nurse is a nursing professional who works with students in an educational setting. When a student is sick or injured during the school day, the first person they'll typically go to see for a health assessment is the school nurse. Administering medication to students with ongoing health issues like seizure disorders or juvenile diabetes, stabilizing students until emergency services arrive in the case of a serious injury, and implementing care plans for students with emotional or physical disabilities are all responsibilities of the school nurse.
Tasks and duties that are commonly performed by school nurses include:
While academic settings are the most common workplaces for school nurses, they are occasionally employed in other areas. Typical environments include:
Aspiring school nurses will need to obtain a nursing education, become licensed, and gain some experience as a working RN. An interest in children and education is also a big part of this role. Although it's not explicitly required, many school nurses these days will possess a Master's in Science of Nursing (MSN) or a Master's in Education.
The following are the educational requirements that must be fulfilled before one is eligible for employment as a school nurse:
Yes, school nurses must possess active and unencumbered RN licenses. In addition to being an RN, school nurses should have a number of years of clinical experience and must be certified by the National Board for Certification of School Nurses.
The Nationally Certified School Nurse credential can be attained through the National Board of Certification for School Nurses (NBCSN). To be eligible for to sit for the certification examination, candidates will need to have met the following requirements:
Certifications must be renewed every five years. Recertifications are based solely on clinical practice hours. In order to be eligible for recertification individuals must maintain an active and unencumbered RN license and have at least 2,000 hours of clinical practice in the previous 5 years. Of the 2,000 hours, 750 of those hours must have occurred in the previous 3 years.
Future demand for school nurses is difficult to predict. With demand for traditional nurses expected to rise substantially over the coming years, it's quite possible that the need for school nurses will also grow. However, it's also possible that school nurses will not see the same kind of growth that other nursing specialties are expected to see in the coming years due to increased budget cuts within the public school system. The good news is that every school needs at least one school nurse, so those who are unable to secure employment in their immediate district can always seek out positions in neighboring districts.
According to PayScale, the average annual salary for school nurses sits at approximately $47,660. The exact amount a school nurse gets paid will depend on factors like the amount of nursing experience they have, their educational credentials and certifications, the school district who employs them, and the geographical location of their employment. Employment benefit packages will too depend upon similar factors. Although benefits will vary from institution to institution, the vast majority of school nurses can expect health, vision, and dental insurance, and sometimes summers off.