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School Nurse


A school nurse works with children from preschool through high school. They are responsible for keeping children healthy and promoting wellness, disease management and hygienic health practices. Once limited to bandaging skinned knees and taking temperatures, today’s school nurses handle a complex set of responsibilities designed to sustain a healthy learning environment.

Beyond standard pediatric concerns, familiarity with chronic diseases, substance abuse, public health, learning disabilities and psychiatry is also critical. Although nurses may hold credentials ranging from an RN to a PhD, the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) officially recommends a Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) degree, current RN licensure and NASN certification.

What Does a School Nurse Do?

The responsibilities of school nurses vary depending on state requirements and the size of the school. All school nurses share similar tasks and responsibilities, however, including:

  • Assessing and monitoring unwell or injured children
  • Child advocacy, including identifying families that may benefit from social services intervention
  • Monitoring chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma and food allergies
  • Identifying potentially serious medical problems
  • Coordinating and implementing disease prevention programs
  • Basic first aid
  • Administering prescription medication
  • Communicating with parents and family physicians
  • Developing and managing of Individualized Education Plans
  • Performing procedures like intravenous gastronomy feedings, tracheostomy and catheter maintenance for physically disabled students

Nursing professionals in many schools also oversee health services departments; promote wellness among students and faculty via outreach programs; and contribute their professional expertise to nutrition, physical education or athletic programs.

Potential Work Settings

  • Elementary Schools
  • Middle/Jr. High schools
  • High schools
  • Alternative schools
  • Pre-schools
  • Vocational schools
  • Overseas military bases
  • Summer camps

What Does It Take to Become a School Nurse?

  • Skills
  • Self-Motivation
  • Interpersonal Ability
  • Organization
  • Compassion
  • Desire to Educate
  • Love of Children
  • Sense of Ethics

School Nurse Information and Job Outlook

How much do school nurses make?

Median Hourly Wage: $21.00

Mean Salary: $39,318

Source: Data taken from Payscale. Accessed: December 2015.

Nurses Are in Demand

Job Outlook: 2010 - 2.74 million jobs; 2020 - 3.45 million jobs

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