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School Nurse Job Description, Career as a School Nurse, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: – Bachelor’s Degree, Certification

Salary: Median – $43,296 annually

Employment Outlook: – Good

School Nurses are specialized nurses who provide care to students and staff members of schools. They take care of students who require medical attention when they are injured or suffer from acute illness. Their tasks include treating of patients, referring them to other care providers, and interacting with parents of patients. Apart from designing and managing the health care system the school, they help the authorities to cope with emergencies by training staff members to respond properly. They provide advice about improving the environment of the school. During periods when students are exposed to communicable diseases, they oversee immunization or exclusion measures.

They help the staff of the school to monitor the health of students who have chronic health conditions. While developing individualized plans for the care of such students, they suggest emergency action procedures. If required, they provide services to the community around the school.

Education and Training Requirements

School nurses must be Registered Nurses (RN). Many school nurses are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN). To become registered nurses, candidates may take an associate’s degree (ADN) or undergraduate degree (BSN) offered by nursing colleges. Alternatively, they can obtain a diploma in nursing offered by some hospitals. After they have completed their nursing diploma or degree they have to take the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). Once they pass this test they become RNs.

After becoming a RN, they have to obtain the certificate given by the National Board for Certification of School Nurses (NBCSN). This test has the approval of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). The minimum requirements for being appointed as school nurse vary from state to state. Many states require the bachelor’s degree. Information about the requirements of each state is available with the NASN.

Getting the Job

Nurses usually start their careers as practical nurses or aides of professional nurses before obtaining RN certification.

Private and public schools, state and county boards of education, colleges and universities, public health departments employ certified school nurses. Jobs openings are advertised in the NASN website and other job searching portals. Candidates may prefer to attend conferences, training sessions, and workshops before applying to schools as these certificates improve prospects of employment.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

School nurses take on leadership roles as a part of their job. During emergencies they coordinate with various professionals to provide appropriate care to students. They may advance from the position of school nurse of a school to becoming school nurse for a number of schools. They can also be promoted to various public departments of health.

Since schools are required to have a school nurse on campus, the employment outlook for the occupation is good. However, younger and relatively inexperienced nurses may face stiff competition from their older and more qualified colleagues as these jobs are less stressful than nursing jobs in hospitals.

Working Conditions

Unlike most other nurses, school nurses do not have to work in stressful conditions. They are usually not required to be on call always. They also do not have to do overtime like hospital nurses. They get holidays when schools are closed and are not required to work at night. School environments are usually less dangerous compared to hospital settings where the possibility of contracting contagious diseases is higher.

Where to Go for More Information

National Association of School Nurses
8484 Georgia Avenue, Suite 420,
Silver Spring, MD 20910

American School Health Association
7263 State Route 43
P.O. Box 708
Kent, Ohio 44240

National School Boards Association 
1680 Duke Street, Alexandria,
VA 22314 

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

The median annual salary of school nurses is $43,296. The 25%tile earned a median annual salary of $34,596 while the 75%tile earned $54,663. Bonuses are usually not given. School nurses generally become members of the SERS (State Employees Retirement System) or PERS (Public Employees Retirement System). This entitles them for benefits such as retirement income, disability pay, vision and dental care.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine