Qualifications needed for a school nurse

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Qualifications needed for a school nurse
School nursing can be a rewarding career. (nurse on duty image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com)

Becoming a school nurse is an option for nurses who want hours more regular than in an emergency room or other such facility. It is a career for people who like kids and want to combine their passion for nursing with their passion for being in a school environment. There are certain qualifications you will need to become a school nurse.

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General Requirements

The exact qualifications for school nurses differ state by state. However, there are general qualifications and requirements that are consistent throughout the country. First, you need an undergraduate degree or diploma in nursing. There is more than one type of program you can enter to receive this. You can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma in nursing. Several colleges offer BSN programs that take about four years to complete. Community and junior colleges offer ADN programs taking about two to three years to complete. Additionally, hospitals offer diploma programs taking about three years.

National Licensing Exam

You must pass a national licensing examination called the NCLEX-RN. This will provide you with a nursing license. You should take the exam for the state where you want to practice, although you can have a license from more than one state. You can be licensed in multiple states, either by taking another examination, or if the state will endorse your license from elsewhere. You have to renew your license periodically by taking continuing education courses at intervals dictated by the state.

Personality Qualifications

There are some general personality qualifications you should possess to become a school nurse. You should be caring and sympathetic toward children. A child is more willing to tell you exactly how he feels and what is wrong with his body if he trusts you. You must be detail oriented, and organised because school nurses must submit a lot of paperwork. You also must have the ability to communicate with children. For example, two children might say "My tummy hurts," and one case might be the flu, and the other might be an appendix. Thus, you must be able to understand and speak to them.

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