School nursing – a fresh look Learning more about this unique career may surprise you. School nursing has changed a lot - and it’s still changing. June 2013. School nursing – a fresh look Answer six simple questions to find out if school nursing is for you:
School nursing – a fresh look
Learning more about this unique career may surprise you. School nursing has changed a lot - and it’s still changing.
‘A school nurse just does immunisations…’
School nurses offer much more than immunisations and first aid. They are public health leaders with a specialist post graduate qualification (Masters’ degree) in public health.
They are skilled, knowledgeable and work independently as part of a team of healthcare professionals.
School nurses are critical to improving the lives of children and young people across the country.
‘School nursing is not very technical: it’s not for people who want to - or could - do a degree.’
To become a registered nurse you need to take a degree, which is usually a three year course if undertaken full time.
You will then need to take a post-graduate qualification to practise as a school nurse which is likely to be a Master’s degree in public health
They are also leaders in new and innovative approaches, such as using social media to deliver advice and support.
‘School nurses work awkward shift patterns, with long and hard hours.’
Like any profession, school nursing can be challenging and demanding at times, but also very satisfying.
Full-time nurses in the NHS work a standard 37.5 hour week.
You are unlikely to work shifts. However, the job is not term time only, it is all year round. Children and young people need advice and support in the school holidays as well!
‘The wages are not very good, at least not for the kind of work school nurses do.’
Newly qualified nurses usually start on over £21,000 a year with the opportunity to earn more with overtime and other additional payments, which compares very well with other public sector jobs.
After qualifying as a school nurse, your salary will automatically rise to at least £26,000.
The highest paid NHS nurses can earn over £95,000.
‘School nursing only suits a certain type of person.’
School nursing attracts – and needs – men and women with diverse backgrounds, skills and qualities.
Many of the skills needed for school nursing, such as communication and leadership are highly transferable and desirable in other professions.
Follow your interests
A school nursing career supports you to develop your interests and, if you want, to specialise in something you’re passionate about. You may discover you enjoy working with children and young people suffering from acute mental health conditions.
There are also specialist roles that focus on particular areas, such as safeguarding children or specific conditions such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy.
What qualifications do I need?
To work as a nurse in the NHS, you must hold a degree in nursing (a 'pre-registration' programme), which allows you to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Typical diploma entry requirements are 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grade C or above, including English and a science subject. Typical degree entry requirements are 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) as above, plus at least 2 A-levels (or equivalent). You should contact individual universities to check their entry requirements before applying.
After graduating as a nurse, you can apply for a qualification in public health nursing. It is advised to get some experience first.
Is school nursing for me?
The best way to find out is by learning more. A good starting point is www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/schoolnursing. You can…