The job of a school nurse involves providing primary healthcare for school children, and inculcating health and hygiene awareness. The nurse is the first contact that many patients have with professional medical help, when in need of medical attention.
One of the qualities required when dealing with children and young adults is patience, and it is important that a school nurse has this. Providing medical care in a school can be difficult at times, due to the unavailability of sophisticated diagnostic equipment. The nurse has to be extremely vigilant and knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms of infectious diseases, because the school setting makes itself vulnerable for an outbreak.
Education is instrumental in providing an individual with specialized training, and it also comes in handy when securing a job that pays well. It is an important job application criteria that the individual applying has completed a certain level of education and has the necessary licenses to practice as a nurse. If you are aiming for this career, it is recommended that you at least have a bachelor's degree.
The job does not involve dealing with complex medical problems, and the role lacks standardized requirements. This makes it possible for the job applicants to have training in vocational programs to apply for this job. However, it is necessary that the nurse completes a state-approved program in practical nursing. These programs are offered by vocational training institutes, nursing schools, and community colleges. After completion of this yearlong program, the individuals then have to take the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-PN to be able to practice.
In a school setting, they are the first line of healthcare and provide basic medical care and prevention measures. Taking vital signs and providing basic medication are some of the duties of a school nurse. Administering allergy medication is one of the most common duties, the other is providing first aid for bruises and cuts. The middle school environment is such that a nurse has to deal with children who fall and cut themselves while playing games and during lunch hours. Most kids dread the idea of medication and a nurse has to be very patient and tactful when dealing with young patients.
The nurse has to deal with a range of students, from toddlers to young adults and needs effective communication skills in dealing with this varied age group. Asthma and Diabetes are a few conditions that are prevalent in school kids and a nurse is required to handle any such situation that may arise from these conditions.
They are required to administer medication that may alleviate the pain experienced under these conditions or take a decision to move the patient to the nearest medical facility, which is equipped to deal with such an emergency. They may also be called upon to run immunization programs and kids' health awareness lectures.
Teenage pregnancy is also a sensitive issue which a nurse has to deal with, and is expected to provide medical advice, along with some good counseling. Sex education, alcohol, and drug addiction awareness programs are also some areas where the nurse can contribute. Obesity is on the rise among American children and devising an individualized diet plan and healthy eating habit program is something that a school nurse may be called upon to do.
The job also involves dealing with children. Hence, a nurse should possess personal qualities such as patience and sympathy. A fervor to serve children who cannot care for themselves will go a long way in making a successful and satisfying career.