by law in the united states, all schools and educational facilities must have a health professional on call to attend to students' medical needs. these professionals oversee the health of students in the school, and are also authorized to excuse students from attending class for medical reasons. as a result, nurses in schools are required to have a broad knowledge of different diseases and know how to diagnose them. in addition to these basic duties, school nurses will also work closely with administration to ensure that the school meets all the health needs of the students, and provide counseling to students, parents, and teachers.
a career as a school nurse can be quite fulfilling for someone who enjoys working with children or teenagers, has a passion for medicine, and does not want to work in a formal hospital setting. if you wish to learn about how to become a nurse, our guide will help you understand the requirements.
what educational path must i take?
each state in the us has its own requirements for nurses that would like to work in a school district. two important requirements depend on nurses' education and amount of experience. while some schools accept applications from licensed practical nurses (lpn), many schools expect their nurses to be licensed registered nurses (rn). getting licensed as a registered nurse involves more rigorous training and education, but provides nurses with more experience. in order to become a rn or a lpn, you will have to enroll in and complete an accredited nursing program. universities, colleges, and hospitals across the us offer these programs for students. the duration may vary between a year and 4, depending on the program you choose. typically, a diploma of training offered by a hospital is the simplest way to enter the profession and become a lpn. in order to become a rn though, you will have to complete a an associate's degree in nursing (adn) or a bachelor of science in nursing (bsn) degree. community colleges and technical schools offer adn degrees, and these usually take two years to complete. bsn degrees are offered by four year colleges and universities, and the program will cover clinical and theoretical training.
through the course of your degree, you could specialize to become a school nurse by taking courses in child development, child health, and also school nursing theory. these will help you mold your skill set to the specific needs of an educational facility. additionally, you will also be groomed in the art of dealing with students and people effectively.
what's the next step?
upon completing your training, you will have to take the national council licensure examination for registered nursing (nclex-rn). once you pass the exam, you will be able to legally practice your profession. you could use this time to gain more experience by working in a public health facility and sharpening your skills before applying to schools for a school nursing position.
before you apply
make sure that you understand the educational and licensing requirements of your state and school district before you begin applying for school nurse position. also, you could consider working as a substitute school nurse if you are looking for more flexible work hours.