CHOOSING A CAREER / AUG. 23, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Become a School Nurse

Are you aspiring to work closely with students, their carers, parents and teachers to offer them support and guidance on a variety of issues ranging from sexual health to obesity? Working as a school nurse would be the best career for you. A school nurse creates a learning context that meets the emotional and mental needs of students.

What Do School Nurses Do?

School nurses have been in practice since the 1800s. Their duties include but are not limited to:

  •  Enhancing healthy life and providing safe-sex education
  •  Administering vaccines and immunizations
  •  Performing developmental screening
  •  Contributing to citizenship classes and social education
  •  Training teachers on healthcare matters and providing advice on school health policy
  •  Helping children with various medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, asthma or mental health problems

Salary

Most full-time nurses work about 37.5 hours per week. However, part-time hours are also available. Earnings depend on the employer and might also be aligned with national scales.

Starting nurses

 

£21,388- £27,901

Nurse specialists

 

£34,500

Managerial practice

 

£40,500

Source: NCS

Skills

The position of a school nurse requires you to have the following important qualities

  •   Attention to detail
  •   Good judgment and problem solving skills
  •   Sympathy and compassion
  •   Excellent record keeping skills
  •   Ability to maintain calmness during emergency situations
  •   Ability to give problems a non-judgmental approach
  •   Emotional stability and self-awareness
  •   A responsible attitude to duties
  •   Aptitude to explore profound issues with patience and tact
  •   A clear comprehension of confidentiality issues

Qualifications

The entry requirements for this career need you to have about two years of practice as a nurse so that you can start training and work as a school nurse. You also need secure a NMC degree. Without further training and qualifications, you can start working as a nurse especially if you have attained the appropriate experience. A large number of employers might prefer candidates who have a postgraduate or shortened degree that leads to registration as a SCPHN. Such courses last for about a year when taken full time and about two years when taken part time. Once you complete these courses, you can secure jobs with the NHS whereby you work under administration and study for a specialist qualification.

Qualified nurses are required to renew their registration with the NMC after a period of three years and have an annual retention levy. Registration requirements include:

  •  A minimum of 450 working hours
  •  Show development in knowledge, competency and be up to date in the nursing practice
  •  A minimum of 35 hours of professional scholarship
  •  Well-kept records of professional development

If you have experience working with children in the community or have participated in health promotion, you stand at a better position of securing a job. You also need a driving license since you are bound to commute a lot. As an experienced nurse, you can progress to positions of higher responsibility that would require you to coordinate various school health programs. Nurses who hold doctorate degrees might conduct research in the school nursing area or even teach at higher institutions of learning.

Career prospects

The National Careers Service predicts an increase of job opportunities for school nurses up to 1,295,000 by 2020 in the UK. This is due to the rise in demand for qualified school nurses to provide care services to rising student population.

If you are willing to work as part of a team taking care of the health and welfare of young people and children, this career is meant for you.

Image Source: King University

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