• 18 November 2020
  • 6 min read

How I Became A School Nurse & Why I Love It

  • Tricia Freake
    Independent School Nurse
    • Mat Martin
    • Matt Farrah
    • Richard Gill
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Megan Cotterell
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 0
  • 824
"Some colleagues do not understand my role and assume that I am a glorified first aider!"

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.

Topics covered in this article

How I Became A School Nurse

Do You Have Any Interview Tips For Your Job Role?

What Are The Differences Between Working For The NHS And The Private Sector?

What Are The Ideal Soft Skills For School Nurses?

What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A School Nurse?

What Does A Typical Day For a School Nurse Look Like?

What Are The Different Types Of Roles Within School Nursing?

What Kind Of Settings Do School Nurses Work In?

How Much Do You Get Paid & What Are The Career Prospects For School Nurses?

What I Love About Being A School Nurse

What Are The Challenges Faced By A School Nurse?

What Is The Current State Of School Nursing In The UK, & What Does The Future Hold?

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.

I have now worked here for 8 years and am proud of what we offer and the service that I initiated and established.

Do You Have Any Interview Tips For Your Job Role?

Express your passion for the role as many see it as mundane.

Sell yourself and be proud of your experience.

Research the school/children’s home.

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.

I think that there is also much more autonomy and the role is much more varied if you work solely for one school.

What Are The Ideal Soft Skills For School Nurses?

Good communication skills, flexibility, being part of a team, resilience.

What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A School Nurse?

School Nurses in the independent sector come from various backgrounds.

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What do YOU think?

Let me know your thoughts in the Comments & click Like!

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I’m an RGN but some are Paediatric Nurses and previous experience is very varied from A/E, community and general practice.

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?

It varies.

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.

In other schools where there is also a children’s or boarding provision, the Nurse may oversee health appointments, liaise with other health professionals, order medication, deliver training etc.

What Kind Of Settings Do School Nurses Work In?

Some can be special schools, boarding schools or mainstream schools.

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.

For example training as a LAC Nurse or Health Visitor or even a role within safeguarding.

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.

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What do YOU think?

Let me know your thoughts in the Comments & click Like!

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Working with a very varied team including care staff, teaching staff and other therapists.

Being fairly autonomous, working on an amazing rural site and having a very varied day to day job.

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!

Many state schools no longer have School Nurses and I think that they are vital to the health needs of children nowadays especially in regards to mental health when other resources are thinly spread.

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!

About the author

  • Tricia Freake
    Independent School Nurse

I started my nursing career in 1991 having completed 3 years of traditional nurse training. I am married with 3 grown up children. I live in Norfolk having moved from London 15 years ago. I love walking, running, enjoying the countryside, traveling, reading, eating out and socialising. I have a working cocker spaniel, Rolo, who keeps me on my toes!

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About the author

  • Tricia Freake
    Independent School Nurse

I started my nursing career in 1991 having completed 3 years of traditional nurse training. I am married with 3 grown up children. I live in Norfolk having moved from London 15 years ago. I love walking, running, enjoying the countryside, traveling, reading, eating out and socialising. I have a working cocker spaniel, Rolo, who keeps me on my toes!

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