Tuesday, February 26, 2013

No Nurse to School Nurse

Hi everyone!

Sorry if you think I abandoned you, but I didn't! I'm still here, just more on my plate. I finally settled in to everything but it doesn't look like my life is going to slow down anything soon. Since I just got my millionth question on how to be a school nurse I thought I'd break it down for everyone. It's a little complicated and there's more to it than what you think so make sure it's the right choice for you before you pursue it. As a note, these rules only apply to California. School nurse laws vary by state. For example, in California only BSN's can become a school nurse while in other states you can have your ADN.

  1. Graduate nursing school with your BSN. Pass NCLEX. Find a school nurse job. Interview. Get the job. 
  2. Since you are a new school nurse once you have the position, the school or school district will have you fingerprinted and obtain a $70 money order or check. This will go toward your school nurse credential. When your prints clear you will get a temporary preliminary credential from the school which allows you to work and expires in one year.
  3. The state will send you your actual preliminary school nursing credential in the mail which expires in 5 years. It is NOT RENEWABLE. 
  4. During those five years you must unfortunately go back to school. You have to obtain your clear credential in order to continue working. To do that you have to have worked as a school nurse for 2 years and completed a school nurse program. 
I have my temporary license from the district and I'm waiting on my official one from the state. Although I have five years I want to get my schooling over with ASAP. The programs are usually 3-4 semesters long. Most of the programs are CSU's like Sacramento State, Long Beach, or Fresno State. There's also a few private university's that offer it like Azusa Pacific University. Some of the programs offer the chance to obtain your Masters as well. I do not recommend trying to apply to these programs and taking classes before you get a school nurse position. It won't help you and I believe some of these programs require you to already have your preliminary license which you can't get without a job. I'm personally looking at Sacramento State because the whole program is online and I only have to go to the campus twice a semester for an exam on a Saturday. Now if you work for an awesome school or school district like I do they will pay for your tuition (Yay! No more loans!). My school district will also pay for me to take an Audiometry course so that I can become certified by the State to do the hearing screening for my district. Right now as I'm finishing up screening I have a nurse from the county coming to help me to do the audio screening while I do the vision. I found a class by CSU San Bernardino that's online for the Spring semester and I only have to drive to CSUSB on a Saturday at the end for the final exam. That way next year I can do the hearing and vision screening on my own. 

That's pretty much it! And trust me it's more work than you think. School nursing is not an easy little job. I'm so busy I don't have time to look at the clock and I barely have time for lunch. I'm going to do another post about what I actually do because it's a lot more than band-aids and lice. Let me know if you guys have more questions!

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  1. Which school and district are you in?

  2. Were you able to work before getting your temporary license?