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School Nurse Contracts

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					                         Making the Switch to
                           School Nursing




                       Gerri Harvey, RN, M.Ed. NCSN
              Click the arrows at the top of your screen to advance the slides
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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                              Introduction

   Many nurses find the idea of School Nursing attractive. The
   schedule looks great, the summers off look heavenly, and as
   parents, many feel a perfect affinity for working with children.
   These nurses often wonder about the requirements for being hired
   as a school nurse, how to find job openings and how to “break in”
   if they have no prior school nurse experience. They wonder what
   educators look for in an applicant and what it is like to be
   interviewed, hired and employed by someone who is not a nurse
   or medical professional.


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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                        Is school nursing right for you?
    There is more to the job than meets the eye of the casual observer. It is a lot
    more than putting on Band-Aids, taking temperatures and checking for head
    lice. Today’s school nurse does the following:
    •Screening
    •Ensuring immunization compliance
    •Developing individual health care plans for children with complex or
    chronic health conditions
    •Doing illness and injury assessments
    •Providing health counseling
    •Writing health policies
    •Educating parents, staff and students around health issues
    •Administering and monitoring medications, treatments and self care……

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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
 •Responding to neglect and abuse issues
 •Preventing emergencies
 •Dealing with crises
 •Writing reports
 •Entering data into the computer
 • Reviewing and interpreting medical reports
 •Documentation, documentation, documentation


 There are meetings, committees and conferences to attend, and often even
 teacher-ly duties like recess, lunch or bus duty. If all of this sounds interesting,
 read on to find out how to find, apply and get hired for a school nurse position.



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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                              Why Schools Hire Nurses

       !    Schools want kids in school, ready to learn. Both conditions depend
            upon being healthy.

       !    Schools need someone to intervene around health-related barriers to
            learning

       !    Schools need a specialist in dealing with complex health conditions,
            chronic illness management and acute conditions which impact
            individuals and populations

       !    Schools need someone skilled in performing first aid and illness
            assessment and care


                                                                                              5
Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                        Rewards for the School Nurse
       !    Making a difference before it’s too late

       !    Whole person nursing

       !    Autonomy

       !    Wellness focused care

       !    Diversity in role

       !    Schedule (school vacations and summers off!)

       !    Fun

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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                                Challenges
      !    Educational issues and how a nurse impacts these

      !    Funding/Budgets/Resources

      !    Public misconceptions, professional isolation

      !    Unpredictable and non-medical setting

      !    Need to be good at everything

      !    Teaching to groups

      !    Schedule


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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                                         Pay
       !    National average around $33,500, but pay varies greatly.

       !    If on teacher’s pay scale, the pay is usually higher than if not

       !    No merit pay, but increases are automatic if nurse has a contract

       !    Pay more for degrees and longevity

       !    You may start at Level One if no school nurse experience, even if
            you have many years experience in other settings

       !    May be able to negotiate for a higher starting level

       !    Can spread your salary over the summer


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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                         Job Descriptions

       !    Tend to focus on the tasks

       !    Focus on educational needs, not health needs

       !    May have been written by a non-nurse

       !    May be antiquated or non-existent

       !    Might include things you don’t think of as nursing, like lunch duty

       !    Might include classroom teaching responsibilities



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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                             Qualifications


       !    Vary by state

       !    RN with child health experience in most

       !    Some, but not all, require BSN or other BS; specialty certification in
            school nursing (NCSN or state-specific); or even Masters Degree in
            Education, Nursing, Public Health or other relevant field




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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                   Skills and Qualities Schools Want
       !    Expansive view of nursing
       !    Organized, flexible
       !    Likes variety and the unexpected
       !    Good communicator
       !    Creative
       !    Leader
       !    Collaborative
       !    High energy
       !    Public health minded
       !    Computer literate
       !    Understands budgets
       !    Good presentational skills
       !    Self directed
       !    Varied experience
       !    Outcomes focused
       !    Understands educational goals

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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
  Who doesn’t make it as a school nurse?
        !    Looking for an easy job
        !    Likes a plan and likes to stick with it
        !    Nervous making independent nursing interventions without a
             doctor’s order
        !    Believes nursing is caring for the sick and injured only, the rest isn’t
             nurse’s job
        !    Mommy focus, ie do everything for them instead of teaching kids
             how to care for themselves
        !    Wants to save the world (guaranteed to lead to fast burnout)
        !    Believes head lice, hygiene and sick kids are the parents’
             responsibility not shared by the school
        !    Sees documentation as just needless “paperwork”
        !    Would rather report than support parents
        !    Expects 9-3 with summers off, and won’t work a minute longer
        !    Wants enforceable policies and rules for everything; easier than
             educating and supporting parents
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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                            Trying Out School Nursing

       !    Substitute
       !    Volunteer
       !    Network
       !    Shadow
       !    Find a mentor

       These are all great ways to get school nurse experience, school nurse
          and principal references, the inside scoop on where to work or not,
          job leads and an edge over unknowns, should you ever decide to
          apply for a position

       On the other hand, these might convince you that school nursing is not
         for you, and save you from making a career move you might regret
                                                                                              13
Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
      Tips for Positioning Yourself for a Job

       !    Reach out from where you are now. Schools love nurse guest
            speakers, volunteers, subs, committee members, and collaborators.
            These will all help you develop a relationship that could lead to a job
            in the future

       !    Find a respected school nurse contact in each district you would
            consider, and ask her for info, support, job leads

       !    Send applications to superintendents, not to schools or school nurses,
            unless it states this specifically



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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                ?’s to ask in evaluating a school
                     district as an employer
       !    How many schools will you cover
       !    How many kids
       !    Who supervises you
       !    Are nurses considered professional or support staff
       !    Are nurses included in teacher’s contract
       !    Is there an orientation
       !    Are there collaborative colleagues, or does everyone do their own thing
       !    Is there staff development money for school nurses
       !    Are there sub nurses
       !    What are benefits
       !    What is your workspace like (is it a broom closet or real office? computer?
            sink and bathroom?)
       !    Who interviewed you, ie who is invested in your success as a team member?


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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                        Finding Jobs
       !    Ask other school nurses. Go to their conferences or take a school
            nurse workshop

       !    Send an application to a district, even if there is no opening
            advertised

       !    Apply in response to ads. Even if you aren’t sure if you want that
            job, you will get a sense of what schools want, what their interviews
            are like

       !    Jobs are usually advertised in newspapers mixed in with teacher ads,
            not under health/medical

       !    Typically advertised in April and May, when contracts are up
                                                                                              16
Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                    Your Resume Focus

       !    Highlight community involvement (volunteer and paid) with kids,
            health, education
       !    Diverse work experience, since the school nurse must do it all
       !    ER experience often seen as a plus, though they may not see how
            your ICU experience might be relevant (if it is, be prepared to
            convince them)
       !    Your flexibility and communication skills
       !    Your ability to work independently but also be a team player
       !    Your ability to work with diverse populations
       !    A philosophy of supporting kids and families for school success




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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                         Best References
       ! School administrators
       ! Teachers
       ! School nurses
       ! Parents
       Why these? Because the biggest school nurse issues encountered by
         educators are not about lack of nursing skills or nursing experience
         (typically what physicians and hospital colleague reference letters are
         focused on). They want to know: can she transfer those skills to an
         educational setting? Can she take direction from a non-nurse, non-
         medical boss? Will she get along with teachers who might not
         understand or even care about nursing goals? Can she speak our
         language? Will she understand the goals of education and support
         those goals? Will she be supportive and non-adversarial with our
         parents? Will she be a willing and effective resource around staff
         health concerns as well as student concerns?

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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                    Getting an Interview
       !    Send a freshly printed resume and cover letter, (no copies of copies)
            with no typos, poor grammar, etc. These are educators, and they are
            used to screening out applicants or giving less than an A to those
            who cannot spell, write or turn in neat papers.

       !    Make sure you tailor your resume to a school position, focused on
            how your skills will serve in their setting. Remember, they don’t
            want a hospital super nurse, they want a super school nurse.

       !    If you already know the principal, even if he is not the one to whom
            you have sent the application, and especially if you have subbed or
            volunteered in that school, send a personal note or call him to let him
            know you are interested and have applied.


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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                             The Interview
            There is a good chance there will be a team of teachers, principal,
            guidance and even another school nurse on the interview team.

       !    Be enthusiastic. Smile, make good eye contact, be curious
       !    Dress professional/casual, the way you imagine a teacher might dress
       !    Ask them questions about the school, their goals for the position, the
            challenges as they see them and don’t be afraid to make brief
            positive comments in response. Interview them too!
       !    Thank them at the end and if you want the job, let them know that
            you would like to work with them.
       !    Send a follow up note to everybody on interview team, even if you
            have to call the school secretary afterwards for names. Use it to
            affirm your interest (if you want the job) and tell them how
            impressed you were with them.


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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                 Things They Might Ask
       !    Why do you want this position?
       !    Tell us what you think a typical day here in the nurse’s office might
            look like
       !    How does your past nursing experience relate to this role?
       !    What strengths would you bring to the school and the team?
       !    What weaknesses do you have?
       !    What are you like in a crisis? Under pressure?
       !    How would you handle an irate parent?
       !    Scenario questions such as: What would you do if 40 % of the
            students had not turned in their required immunizations
            documentation by the due date? (Hint: they see the school’s role to
            keep children in school, not out)



                                                                                              21
Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
               12 Worst Things to Say in Interviews
       1.       I want this job so I can be off when my kids are off
       2.       I am looking for something less demanding/easier
       3.       I have always wanted to get into the schools
       4.       I am burned out with hospital (or where ever you are now) nursing
       5.       I am sick of working with doctors/other nurses/my boss
       6.       I want this job so I can have the summers off
       7.       That’s the parents’/teachers’ responsibility
       8.       I just think kids are so cute
       9.       If I wanted to teach, I would have become a teacher
       10.      I would call the doctor to ask him what I should do
       11.      I would call DCYF/ the authorities/the police/ the state
       12.      If I don’t see blood, vomit or a temp over 101, I would send that
                child right back to class!


                                                                                              22
Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                  Good Things to Know
       !    You may have a non-nurse or a nurse coordinator, but maybe you
            won’t

       !    The Principal is usually your boss

       !    The Superintendent is Principal’s boss

       !    The School Board is superintendent’s boss

       However….
       ! Parents
       ! Teachers
       ! Union contract
       ! Town/city budget committees
       …………………………all have a big say too
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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                            In Summary
•School nursing is an inter-disciplinary specialty which includes nursing and
education. You need to be invested in both.
•Experience matters: school nursing is very autonomous and is not for the novice
nurse
•Schools see the school nurse role as one that supports the mission of education, not
the other way around (even though schools are also crucial in meeting public health
goals around children)
•You have most of the skills you need already
•You can acquire the additional skills around educational goals and outcomes that
none of us learned in nursing school.
•Sub, shadow, read the ads, ask, and volunteer in order to find jobs
•Remember that schools are looking for competent nurses who are also capable and
willing to be inter-disciplinary, flexible, enthusiastic, creative, and self-directed
school team players while also serving as a collaborative link to the health care
community.
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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
       Mental Preparation: Next Steps
       !    List three of your qualities/skills that will contribute to
            your success as a school nurse
       !    List three things you can do to prepare to find a school
            nurse position
       !    List three criteria schools will be looking for when they
            interview you
       !    Based upon what you have learned from this slide show,
            name three reasons why a school would be lucky to have
            YOU as their school nurse.


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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com
                                                  Good Luck!




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Gerri Harvey, RN, MEd, NCSN, PO Box 391, Gilmanton, NH 03237 * http://www.snp.homestead.com

				
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