If you are considering becoming a nurse or are already working in the field, have you ever thought about working as a school nurse? Gone are the days school nurses simply took temperatures and sent children back to class. Today, school nurses do everything from monitor communicable diseases; case manage students with chronic and severe health problems; assist in physical examinations; and keep a safe and healthy environment for students, staff and faculty.
If you’re a nurse with the appropriate credentials to begin looking for work as a school nurse, what types of schools should you start with? For the most part, private schools do not have school nurses, but public schools do.
School nurses perform a multitude of different duties, especially with the advent of federal legislation of “No Child Left Behind.” There is an increasing amount of students in regular schools with chronic and severe health problems — ventilators, motorized wheelchairs, brittle diabetics, seizure disorders — and the school nurse is the case manager for all these issues.
Part of their everyday job descriptions are a whole host of mandated services that they need to provide, such as health assessments for Special Educational Services, attending IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) meetings and monitoring communicable diseases. School nurses also do staff development on various topics like blood borne pathogens, EpiPen administration, and asthma signs and symptoms. School nurses basically keep a safe and healthy environment for students, staff and faculty.
In high school, school nurses also assess all yearly physician physical examinations for athletes and other team members. They also collaborate with many community agencies, law enforcement and the Department of Children and Family Services, as the need arises.
As a nurse, why would one choose to work in a school over a hospital? For some, the benefit of a normal shift — no nights, no weekends — outweigh everything else. Others are more skeptical about positions, worrying that city and state funding cuts could lead to decreased hours, increased workloads or eliminations of positions altogether.
Courtesy Tribune Media Services