Exploring this Job
This is one area of nursing for which you don't have far to travel to talk to someone in the career; of course, you should visit your own school nurse. Ask about his or her daily responsibilities and workload and how he or she prepared for this line of work. Ask for suggestions on nursing programs and other tips on starting your career.
See if your school or local institution offers first-aid programs to learn some basic emergency medical procedures such as CPR. Another way to gain experience is through volunteer work at a hospital, nursing home, or other medical facility.
There's a lot more to school nursing than just applying bandages and taking temperatures. Of course, school nurses care for sick and injured children, but they are also responsible for paperwork, planning, and record keeping. School nurses must assess every child entering kindergarten and make sure the child has had all the required immunizations. In addition, they maintain health records for all students that include a record of state-mandated immunizations. Each year, they take the height and weight of students, perform basic vision screenings, and work with audiologist to conduct hearing tests.
In addition to all their record-keeping tasks, school nurses are frequently a resource for parents or staff members. They communicate with parents when children are ill to determine the best treatment option. They answer questions from parents regarding their children's health and school policies regarding sick days and the administration of medications. School nurses must also develop care plans for any students with special needs.
School nurses are also health educators. Teachers may ask the school nurse to speak to their individual classes when they are covering subjects that deal with health or safety. School nurses may also be required to make presentations on disease prevention, health education, and environmental health and safety to the student body, staff, and parent organizations.
School nurses may be employed on a full- or part-time basis depending on the school's needs, their funding, their size, and their state's or district's requirements. Some school nurses may also work at private or parochial schools.