If you are planning to start a career in school nursing, you may be interested in learning how to become a school nurse. School nursing is a specialized area of practice that is committed to keeping the school a healthy environment for students. They do this by intervening when there may be a potential problem and by referring health services to specific students who may need to see a physician for treatment. The role of the school nurse is an important once, and this is why you must be formally trained and then certified to practice within the specialty area. Read on, and learn just what it takes to work in school nursing.
Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
The very first step to becoming a school nurse is to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. While some schools in private and public settings will employ a licensed practical nurse (LPN), a majority of schools and certification agencies require candidates to possess their BSN before they will qualify for employment. You should look for approved programs that will qualify you to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Register Nurses so that you meet all of the prerequisites to test.
Become a Registered Nurse by Taking the NCLEX-RN
While becoming an RN is a voluntary step to become a school nurse, if you would like to compete for a position it is a necessary one. To become a Licensed Registered Nurse, you will need to pass the uniform NCLEX-RN exam that was developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Once you pass the exam, you will be licensed to practice in several different healthcare settings as a clinical professional.
Get Experience to Get Certified as a Specialist
To get certified as a specialist through the National Association of School Nurses, you must first get professional clinical experience. You must have no less than 1000 clinical hours of school nursing experience within the 3 year period before you can earn your certification with the National Certification Examination for School Nurses, according to the National Board for Certification of School Nurses. It is recommended that you have at least 4000 hours of experience total. This 4000 hours of experience can be a combination of clinical hours and other professional contribution to health in a school setting.
Keeping your Certification With Continuing Education
Once you are a certified school nurse, you need to complete the appropriate courses to maintain it. This is referred to as professional continuing education. You must complete at least 75 units every five year certification period. Once it is time to recertify, you must present proof that you have completed courses on developments in the field so that you can be reissued your credential.
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Where there is primary and secondary education there will be a need for school nursing professionals. Professionals in this area of public health are in demand. According to data released by Healthy People 2020, every school has a goal to employ 1 nurse for every 750 students within an institution, according to Kaplan University. Since only about 40% of schools will successfully meet this goal by the year 2020, there is only room for growth. Now that you know how to become a school nurse, it is time to start training so that you can fill in the demand and accomplish your professional goals.