Many variables impact students’ capacity to thrive in school and retain what they learn, including their mental and physical well-being. Students whose health is compromised or jeopardized are less able to concentrate in class and are more prone to miss school. As a result, school nursing is an essential component of elementary and secondary education. In this article, we are going to provide the school nurse career guide as well as steps to become one.

school nurse
What does a school nurse do?


1. What is a school nurse?

To its name, the school nurse checks for students’ illnesses and determines the potential urgent condition that needs treatment immediately. Despite the misunderstood that school nurses are only responsible for physical treatment, today’s school nurses evolve in various issues that require both knowledge and skills such as student’s mental health issue management, behavioral problems, chronic illness, and other common student conditions. 


2. What does a school nurse do?

Overall, school nurses’ main responsibility is to take care of students, faculty, and staff in a school environment. In addition, school nurses manage student health, such as vaccines and sickness documentation, as well as provide treatment for kids with chronic diseases. They also help teachers give drugs to pupils who have adverse effects or allergies. Finally, they educate by providing injury prevention suggestions and aiding with injury care methods.

Besides, there is the additional task that may be included in the school nurse’s duties: 

  • Evaluate injuries and illnesses and respond with suitable intervention approaches
  • Join the educational team that creates Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for children with disabilities.
  • Complete gastrostomy tube feedings, catheterization, and tracheostomy care for students with feeding problems.
  • Conduct routine health checks, including vision and hearing screenings.
  • Discuss and execute preventive strategies for pregnancy and sexually transmitted illnesses with older pupils.
  • Create ways to prevent pupils from using cigarettes, alcohol, or illicit drugs.
  • Locate resources for students in distress.
  • Teach kids self-care skills to help them manage chronic conditions.
  • Administer medication.
  • Create the health education curriculum in collaboration with the principal and instructors.
  • Serve as the primary point of contact for parents and the community.


3. Where do school nurses work?

School nurses are frequently employed at educational institutions such as public or private schools of varying levels, vocational institutes, or foreign schools. They are often employed throughout the school or academic year. In addition, they could also work at juvenile detention centers or orphanages.

nclex school nurse
School nurses often work at the educational institutions


4. How to be a school nurse?

A school nurse must have extensive knowledge and abilities in pediatric, psychiatric, and public health, as well as school regulations and legislation governing education. They must be capable of evaluation and planning, critical thinking, multi-level communication, and referral.


4.1. Earn the bachelor’s degree

To become a registered nurse, you must either graduate from a recognized nursing program or have a bachelor’s degree in science.

Schools and other facilities should hire registered nurses with a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree or higher, such as a Master of Science in Nursing degree, according to the National Association of School Nurses, and the National Board for Certification of School Nurses requires a bachelor’s degree to be eligible for school nurse certification.


4.2. Pass the NCLEX test

To get licensed, you must apply to your state’s nursing board. If you are qualified to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which is proctored and evaluated by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the board will notify you. In order to become a registered nurse, all nurses must pass this exam.


>> See more: NCLEX Study guide: Helpful tips you should know 


4.3. Earn clinical experience

To be certified as a school nurse, you must have a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical experience or three years of full-time academic experience. This experience helps nurses develop the abilities needed to function autonomously in a school context. A registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree who passes the national test can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals and doctors’ offices. After completing the clinical experience requirement, a candidate is eligible to take the school nurse certification test.


4.4. Meet the requirements of your state

The following stage is determined by the requirements of your state. The requirements for the school nurses are set by each state. Some demand further qualification or licensure in addition to your RN license. You can contact your state’s NASN affiliate to find out what your state’s requirements are for school nurses.

You may be obliged or desire to get National Board for Certification of School Nurses certification. To be qualified to take the School Nurse Certification Exam, you must have at least 1,000 hours of clinical experience or three years of full-time academic experience, according to NBCSN. You have four hours to finish the test, which has 250 multiple-choice questions.


5. What are the job outlook and salary for school nurses? 


5.1. Job Outlook 

Employment for registered nurses is expected to grow by 9% from 2020–2030. This is much faster than the projected growth for all occupations.


5.2. How much does a school nurse make? 

In the United States, the average compensation for a school nurse is $48,920. The compensation range for school nurses is normally between $39,098 and $61,776 and is determined by criteria such as education, certifications, location, extra abilities, and experience or years in the field.

>> See more: Nurse salary: How much do nurses make


school nurse nclex
School nurses often make $48,920


6. What are the pros and cons of being a school nurse? 

Most schools have only one school nurse, who manages the health office as well as the whole school health program. This has the benefit of allowing you to plan your own work and establish your own timetable. It is rarely as stressful as the hospital setting.

Working alone, on the other hand, might be lonely and lead to professional stagnation. This is why school nurses should join their state school nursing association, where they may network, learn, and be inspired by others in the same circumstances.

One disadvantage of being the lone health professional on the team is that other members of the team may not appreciate what you do. They think you’re just waiting for the next sick or injured youngster to come in.

In summary, every type of nurse is rewardable and worth receiving the respective. We hope that after reading this article, you will have a clear understanding of school nurses career guide as well as know the steps to become one. Moreover, if you are looking for a website to practice the NCLEX Exam, start now with our NCLEX Practice Test with the latest updated questions to score high on your exam. We are available on both Play Store and App Store