School Nurse

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Basic description

The school nurse practices professional nursing within an educational setting with the goal of assisting students to develop to their greatest physical, emotional, and intellectual ability. School nurses promote health and safety practices and provide interventions to actual and potential health problems. These nurses respond to acute injuries within the school population, as well as assist students to manage chronic conditions, such as food allergies, asthma, and other illnesses. Practice settings include school systems, state health departments, and county health departments.

Educational requirements

Registered nurse preparation is required. Some school systems and/or health departments are requiring that school nurses have baccalaureate or master’s degrees in nursing. Certification is available from the National Board for Certification of School Nurses.

Core competencies/skills needed

■ General experience with children
■ Strong foundation in physical assessment and first aid and emergency care
■ A solid skill base and understanding of pediatric medicine
■ Knowledge of developmental stages is very important in order to provide age-appropriate care
■ Strong communication and interpersonal skills to assess and determine the health care needs of the children and their families
■ Computer skills to chart and track students’ records and immunization status
■ Ability to relate to children and communicate with patients and the school community
■ Ability to provide health education
■ Responsible for medication management of children while they are in school
■ Skills to participate as a member of a multidisciplinary education team and collaborate with other members of the educational environment
■ Ability to provide care for minor ailments such as a scraped knee as well as potentially serious conditions such as an allergic reaction or a major injury
■ Ensure the safety and well-being of all the children in the school
■ Ability to deal with issues such as school violence, suicide, and unwanted teen pregnancies

Related Web sites and professional organizations

■ National Association of School Nurses (www.nasn.org)
■ The Association of School Nurses of Connecticut (http://schoolnurse.vservers.com)
■ National Association of State School Nurse Consultants (http://www.nassnc.org/)
■ National Board for Certification of School Nurses (www.nbcsn.org)

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