Do you have memories of visiting the school nurse’s office as a child? School nurses leave an impression on the children in their care and the position is in demand in the current job market. If you’ve ever thought about becoming a school nurse, here are some things to consider.
Have you considered becoming a school nurse?
As a school nurse, you will be the onsite healthcare representative, tending to the medical needs of students and adults. From headaches and fevers to bloody noses and infectious diseases, they will visit you in your office. You may need to call their parents or assist with wound care, review vaccination records as mandated by the state, and conduct hearing and vision screenings. Teachers may ask if you can teach a CPR class or assist with administering medicine to students.
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve experienced a continuous nursing shortage. With an aging population, there is a greater demand, and it also means more nurses are retiring; it’s a bad place to be. By 2025, it is estimated there will be a shortage of as many as 450,000 nurses. For those who continue to practice, it’s basic economics; as demand increases and there is a lack of supply, your pay will increase. It’s an exciting time to be entering the field!
If you’re thinking of becoming a school nurse, we’d like to share the pros and cons to help you make your decision.
Pros of School Nursing
Like becoming a travel nurse, there are benefits to being a school nurse. You only work when school is in session, so you get summers and holidays off. For some nurses, it is a less stressful job than working in a hospital or medical office. And bonus, if you love kids, you will be working with them throughout the day.
Cons of School Nursing
One of the biggest cons is that there is no or limited training in school nursing. Most nursing programs don’t teach how to be a school nurse so it can be challenging. Working in an educational setting isn’t like working in a medical facility so there’s a learning curve. Draw from your previous experience and it can be an enjoyable career.
There is going to be more paperwork and less opportunity to collaborate with other healthcare professionals. Because of the nursing shortage, you’re likely to be the only nurse on staff. You will also be dealing with cleaning up after kids who are sick or have lice. That may mean answering questions from less than happy parents from time to time which can be an added stressor.
How to Become a School Nurse
To become a school nurse you will need to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), pass NCLEX, and be licensed in your state. You will also need clinical experience before stepping from nursing school to school nursing. Each state may have its own requirements. In Arizona, school nurses must obtain a school nurse certificate issued by the Arizona Department of Education.
Why Work with a Staffing Agency?
Rather than being limited by open positions through your local districts, think about working with a staffing agency like AB Staffing. Our team of recruiters guides you through the process. As an agency, we have more positions from which you can select. Work with a recruiter to tell them your ideal setting and they will see what is available. Also, there is increased take-home pay as a school nurse and greater schedule flexibility when you work with an agency. Choose from several different positions and locations and decide what is best for you.