RN to BSN Programs: Become Qualified to Practice as a School Nurse

By James Collister on February 13th, 2009

Nurse in PurpleMany health care facilities that employ registered nurses have a high staff turn-over rate due to the unpopularity of night shifts and mandatory overtime. But another possibility, working as a school nurse, allows registered nurses to work much more of a normal schedule. School nurses typically practice a regular work week and are usually employed according to the school calendar. Earning an RN to BSN degree can qualify registered nurses to take advantage of this unique career opportunity within the field of nursing.

What Does a School Nurse Do?

School nursing has far surpassed the days of distributing band-aids for scraped knees and Tylenol for headaches. Today school nurses cover anywhere from one to several schools. Graduates of RN to BSN programs who choose to specialize in school nursing are usually responsible for mandatory vision and hearing screenings as well as ensuring immunization compliance. However, they are also responsible for emergency care and sometimes even advanced medical care such as tracheostomy care and administration of tube feedings for medically fragile children who are being mainstreamed into schools.

Graduates of RN to BSN programs who choose to specialize in school nursing also practice a bit of public health. School nurses may be responsible for health education and promotion. Registered nurses with a campus or online nursing degree may also create programs and interventions for illness and injury prevention. Finally, the school nurse may serve as the contact person for the community on matters related to school health.

Required Education to Become a School Nurse

Nurses may legally practice with a hospital diploma, associate degree, or the RN to BSN degree which is also known as the bachelor of science in nursing degree. However, many states actually require school nurses to have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing from a campus or online nursing program. Some states may also require certification as a school nurse. Information on certification can be found through the National Board for Certification of School Nurses.

Prospective students who are looking for an RN to BSN program may visit, the education and career resource website, for an extensive list of available online nursing schools. Schools, such as the University of Phoenix, offer an RN to BSN online program designed specifically for working registered nurses. Other schools, such as Kaplan University, have designed an online registered nurse program that allows students to specialize in a specific area of nursing. Kaplan University offers online nursing certification in the following specializations: Case Management. Geriatric Care Management. Life Care Planning. Forensic Nursing. Legal Nurse Consulting.

Qualities Necessary for Success as a School Nurse

Graduates of RN to BSN programs who choose to specialize in school nursing may be required to have good time-management and multitasking skills as it is possible that more than one school may be assigned to their care. According to the Department of Labor, nurses also need to be caring, sympathetic, responsible, and detail-oriented. Registered nurses must be emotionally stable in order to deal with job stress, crises, emergencies, and human suffering. Internship and on-the-job training, while completing an online program RN to BSN curriculum, is necessary to gain the practical work experience required to practice as a school nurse.

Category: Medical and Nursing

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