- 18 November 2020
- 6 min read
How I Became A School Nurse & Why I Love ItSubscribe To Advice
With a Nursing career spanning 30 years, Independent School Nurse, Tricia, outlines her journey into School Nursing, the challenges she faces and what the future looks like for School Nurses in the UK.
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How I Became A School Nurse
I qualified as an RGN in 1991.
I worked on various wards, then moved to day surgery and eventually found my niche in Endoscopy where I progressed to a sister’s post.
I worked there for 9 years.
I had always loved working with children and considered completing my paediatric training too although the opportunity did not arise.
When I moved to Norfolk I wasn’t sure that I wanted to continue working in the NHS but still wanted to utilise my qualification.
I worked for about 2 years in a pre-admission clinic.
I saw a job advertisement for a School Nurse in an independent mainstream school and applied.
I wasn’t successful, but wasn’t deterred and the same post came up about a year or so later so I applied again and was successful.
I worked there for 4 years and loved it!
I was then approached by an employment agency who had seen my CV online and asked me if I would be interested in a School Nurse role at a special school and children’s home for children with autism.
I decided to go for an interview and see what the school was like.
I was offered the post and started part time whilst continuing to work at the mainstream school.
Initially I remained hesitant as it was a steep learning curve for me in working with children with special needs.
As there had been no nurse in post prior to me, I was also tasked with establishing the nursing service for the school and children’s home.
It soon became clear that the post needed to be full time as I covered the children’s home too.
Another Nurse who I previously worked with began a job share with me.
I eventually went full time as the role grew and grew.
Do You Have Any Interview Tips For Your Job Role?
Express your passion for the role as many see it as mundane.
Research the school/children’s home.
What Do You Think?
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What Are The Differences Between Working For The NHS And The Private Sector?
It’s much easier to become a School Nurse in the independent sector.
In the NHS you either need a relevant qualification or previous relevant experience.
What Are The Ideal Soft Skills For School Nurses?
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What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A School Nurse?
School Nurses in the independent sector come from various backgrounds.
What Does A Typical Day For a School Nurse Look Like?
No two are the same!
That’s why I love it.
I could be assisting with medication administration in the children’s houses, seeing children who are unwell, administering FA, delivery training to staff, writing care plans, attending LAC (looked after child) meetings, CGMs (Core Group Meetings for child protection cases), writing reports for reviews, liaising with other health professionals.
I am also a DSL so I have to fit that around my main role.
What Are The Different Types Of Roles Within School Nursing?
In some schools there is no residential or boarding provision so it might be overseeing medication administration, delivering PSHE lessons and keeping up to date on health conditions for day pupils.
What Kind Of Settings Do School Nurses Work In?
How Much Do You Get Paid & What Are The Career Prospects For School Nurses?
I get paid £33,483.
There is little career progression in my current post, but other opportunities can open up to you.
What I Love About Being A School Nurse
Working with the children and ensuring that they have every opportunity to access the best possible healthcare.
Acting as an advocate for them.
Working with a very varied team including care staff, teaching staff and other therapists.
What Are The Challenges Faced By A School Nurse?
Some colleagues do not understand my role and assume that I am a glorified first aider!
What Is The Current State Of School Nursing In The UK, & What Does The Future Hold?
I think that more and more independent schools are seeing the value of having a School Nurse and many in my geographical area do.
State schools are less fortunate.
I think that there will always be School Nurse roles in independent schools and I think that we will see a move back to them also having more of a presence in state schools again.
With an increase in metal health issues in children and teenagers and a clear lack of resources, School Nurses are often the first port of call.
Let me know in the comments your thoughts on School Nursing and what I've said about my journey - let's chat there!
Oh, and please Like this article to let me know you enjoyed it - thank you!