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Career Story: School Nurse's Assistant

School Nurse's Assistant

Job Title: Clerical Paraprofessional

Type of Company: I work for a school district in northeastern Connecticut.

Education: high school diploma, business courses, first aid courses

Previous Experience: I worked as a clerk for an insurance company prior to taking my current job. I used to file charts in the workers compensation department.

Job Tasks: I am a clerical paraprofessional. I help six nurses in six buildings organize health records for over 3000 students. I need to ensure all students have the proper immunizations for their age, as well as state required physical exams which are called for in kindergarten, and again in sixth and tenth grades. I also help treat students who become ill during the school day or are injured on the playground. There is a lot of filing and updating of records involved. The average health office sees 20-80 students a day for various illness/injuries. It is up to me to organize and update the orders that govern what a school nurse can do. I also help to organize information for three annual state-imposed surveys: asthma and immunization surveys in the fall and in the spring a survey of all nursing duties.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is definitely the students. They bring a smile to my face each and every day. The little kids are funny, because they don't yet have the vocabulary to describe how they feel and you never know what they will come out with. I feel just as lucky to work with high schoolers. They have some serious concerns about their changing bodies and what is going on with them.

The worst part of the job is getting to know a student who then becomes sick or gets injured. I don't like to see kids in pain.

Job Tips: I was fortunate. I had a great business teacher who pushed me to excel. She taught me not to be afraid of computers; they only do what you tell them to do and it is impossible to wipe anything out. She assisted me in working in the offices in the school to file and do computer work as a high school student. There I was able to get experience which I brought with me as an employee. I also was lucky enough to go to work for the same school I went to. Everyone knew me and knew what I was capable of doing.

In any case, I would suggest that someone looking for my type of work, take business and science classes in high school, and continue them in college. Language courses would also be very helpful as you have a variety of ethnic groups in schools today.

Additional Thoughts: If I could change anything in my career, I'd take more medical training courses. School nursing is not just a band-aid and kiss operation. You will have many other serious situations which can take up a big part of the day. You must also be a people person and enjoy talking with a variety of ethnic groups as well as different income levels.

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