School Nurse Career Information

School nurses are registered nurses who provide the first point of care for school students. This is a highly responsible position, appropriate for highly qualified health care providers. School nurses perform extremely valuable work in the school system, providing expert care and facilities for the children in their care.

The work environment

The school environment is an often a difficult and demanding workplace. The school has a duty of care for students in its charge, which involves some potentially difficult legal situations if students are injured on school premises. Injuries and accidents are the most common problems. In most cases these are comparatively minor injuries, but kids need good quality care. Having a registered nurse, with that level of experience and knowledge, is a good safeguard.

Injuries like sporting accidents and cuts also involve some risk of infection of lesions, concussions, and other injuries where the medical situations may be complicated. A school nurse needs to be alert for these issues. The injuries may seem minor, but post injury conditions, including shock, and the effects of concussions or impact injuries require monitoring. 

There are also some potential major health issues in schools. Childhood is a time of common childhood conditions, and there may be issues with contagious childhood infections like measles, chicken pox, or other types of communicable disease.

Parental Requests

There may also be parental issues with the forms of medical treatment which school children receive. In some cases parents may require treatment for particular conditions relating to their children. Other parents may prefer that some forms of medical treatment, like vaccinations, are not given to their children. This is often a sensitive area with parents, and the school is obliged to respect their wishes regarding their children.

The school nurse is therefore required to be fully aware of the medical conditions relating to children with particular needs. Some medical conditions require immediate attention. Allergies, in particular, require the school nurse to be prepared for emergencies. Some chronic conditions, like asthma and epilepsy, are also cases in which appropriate medical resources may be required.

In some cases, school nurses may provide first aid, and non-prescription medications. Unless licensed, they may not provide other forms of medical care. However, they are able to advise and assist regarding any other medical attention and take action to assist with serious cases of injury and other medical conditions.

Wages and Hours

The median wages are $62,450 for school nurses. The hours a nurse works are the typical school hours. Also, most nurses are required to attend school events.

The career outlook

The school nurse position is a career situation which often works well for nurses at various points in their lives. For nurses with young families, the school nurse position is often ideal, fitting in well with domestic routines. It also may allow nurses to work locally in their home environment. 

In broader career terms, the high levels of responsibility and essential requirement for excellent general care abilities of school nurses are also very good career references. This is a career position which is potentially good for nurses intending to rise to senior positions in health care facilities and institutional positions.