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Career Story: School Nurse At A Catholic Elementary School

School Nurse At A Catholic Elementary School

Job Title: Pediatric Nurse

Type of Company: A private Catholic school.

Education: BSN, Fitchburg State College (Fitchburg, MA)

Previous Experience: I have worked as a hospital-based pediatric nurse, as a nurse in pediatrician's office and done home care nursing work too.

Job Tasks: I am currently a school nurse at a private Catholic school, whee I'm responsible for 550 students in pre-Kindergarten to eighth grade. My more than 20 years of pediatric experience have prepared me well for whatever health care emergencies arise during the school day, but I am also responsible for more mundane administrative tasks and in particular for maintaining and updating all students' health records (including immunizations).

I work closely with the teachers to manage student health problems and minimize lost class time. I administer daily medications along with Tylenol and Advil. I take temperatures, clean injuries, bandage wounds and stop bloody noses. I speak with pediatricians regarding their patients and confer with parents about various health problems.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is getting to work with children. They make me laugh and are always so happy to see me. They are always very thankful for my help, which is not very common in most professions. I get to interact with many different people and my job is never the same from one day to the next, so I am never bored.

The worst part about it, I'm afraid, is how poorly it pays in comparison to the nursing work in hospitals.

Job Tips: My advice for anyone interested in becoming a school nurse is to get plenty of experience in a hospital first. You need to know a lot about many different illnesses and conditions before you start. A school nurse usually works alone so you really need to be confidant in what you are doing. Learn as much as you can from all of your jobs. Don't be in a rush; most school nurses are in their forties.

Additional Thoughts: I was very surprised at how much I love my job. Having worked in a hospital most of my career, I thought a school nurse only put on band-aids. But she does far, far more.

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