Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Schools in Need of More than a Dozen Nurses

Qualified RNs sought to work with students on health management, prevention and education. The rickety economy has had an impact on school health clinics, which are losing full-time nurses to hospitals and doctors’ offices offering more hours.

As a result, APS is in need of more than a dozen school nurses.

Laura Case, the district’s new director of nursing services, said the job is ideal for parents of school-age children because school nurses work when students are in school. Full-time school nurses work six-and-a-half-hour days, 183 days a year, with summers and holidays off.

While those are attractive hours, they have proved to be a detriment in attracting nurses in this weak economy because many qualified individuals need more hours and more money to make ends meet. School nurses get paid a competitive hourly rate of between $25 and $41 an hour, but they work fewer hours than those in hospitals or doctors’ offices.

If nurses can make the hours work for them, there are other advantages to working in schools, Case said.

“It’s such a positive environment in which nurses can really support student health and wellness,” she said. “School nurses are educators with a focus on prevention.”

Nurses also play an important role in the management of care for students with health issues such as diabetes, asthma and allergies.

“School nurses don’t just take temperatures and put Band-Aids on skinned knees,” Case said. “Many children rely on the school nurse to help manage health plans that allow them to focus on learning.”

Despite the shortage of school nurses, schools haven’t been without health care providers this school year, Case said. The district has used agency nurses to help fill the void. However, Case said it would be nice to have more stability in school health offices.

APS is now taking applications for school nurses. Go to the job listings on the APS website for a more detailed job description and to fill out an application.

Qualifications for school nurses include:
  • A BSN or bachelor’s degree in a related health field
  • Current new Mexico RN license
  • Three years of full-time experience in a supervised clinical nursing setting
  • Current CPR certification

Preferred areas of experience include:
  • School nursing
  • Pediatric, hospital or ambulatory care
  • Technology dependent care/pediatric ICU
  • Emergency room.


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