A Career In Medicine Part 1

A Career In Medicine Part 1

A Career In Medicine Part 1:A  School Nurse/ Medical Secretary

In this series of Careers In Medicine.A  Part 1 will look at the job descriptions of School Nurses and Medical Secretaries.

SCHOOL NURSE
If the idea of caring for primarily children in a relaxed, educational setting sounds interesting, then becoming a school nurse could be the perfect job for you. School nurses are in a position to positively impact young lives. Caring school nurses often make a lasting impression on the children for whom they so lovingly care. They provide comfort and reassurance in an often overwhelming world for young children. However, today’s school nurses don’t just apply Band-Aids to cuts and ice packs to bruised knees. They coordinate and oversee the dispensation of medicines for a number of childhood disorders like ADD, diabetes, and asthma. Children today are sicker and more fragile than a generation ago. More children with disabilities are integrated into the school systems requiring school nurses to be better educated and more experienced in dealing with these challenges. The incidence of food allergies has risen sharply – as much as 18 percent over the last decade, according to a CDC report, and 6 percent of all children in the U.S. report having a food allergy with peanuts most often being the offending culprit. Today’s school nurses need to be armed with the latest information about such conditions and need to be adept in responding to emergencies.

How is school nursing different from other types of nursing? According to the National Association of School Nurses(NASN), school nursing “is a specialized practice of professional nursing that advances the well-being, academic success and life-long achievement and health of students. To that end, school nurses facilitate positive student responses to normal development; promote health and safety including a healthy environment; intervene with actual and potential health problems; provide case management services; and actively collaborate with others to build student and family capacity for adaptation, self-management, self-advocacy and learning” (2010).

Requirements and salaries for school nurses vary from state to state and district to district. Most require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with a special certification in school nursing, although some people with associate level nursing degrees do practice as school nurses, and also possess a school nurse certificate. School nurses are required to maintain their certification with yearly continuing education credits. Most school nurses are paid along the same pay scale as teachers and are often included in teachers’ unions, subject to the same salary and benefits constraints.

Helpful resources for those interested in becoming a school nurse include your state board of nursing, your state’s association for school nurses, and your local school district. These organizations can provide all information pertinent to becoming a school nurse. For example, the New Jersey State School Nurses Association provides helpful links that help keep school nurses informed about legislation affecting their practice, conferences, certification requirements, and bylaws regarding school nursing in the state.

School nursing has changed in recent years, so those interested in this career should make sure they understand the demands of the job. If you imagine yourself putting Band-Aids on knees or just sending kids home with stomachaches, think again. You will have to be well educated and able to stay abreast of the latest developments in pediatric medicine. You will need to be a valuable link in the community – an astute educator, who possesses the talent to reach both children and their parents. If you fit this description, school nursing just may be the perfect career for you.

MEDICAL SECRETARY
An often overlooked medical career is medical secretary. A medical secretary oversees many medical office and hospital duties. She is usually the first person a patient interacts with when entering a physician’s office. When being admitted to a medical or surgical unit in a hospital, the medical secretary is the one who first greets the patients, takes their personal information, makes a copy of their insurance card, and begins putting together the patient’s medical chart. On a hospital unit, the medical secretary helps facilitate communication between doctors, nurses, patients, and their family members. The medical secretary is often the central figure on a medical unit. A well-organized medical secretary knows where all the supplies are and what forms need to be filled out when; in short, the medical secretary is the one who knows how to get things done to help the unit run smoothly.

In a private physician’s office, the medical secretary also plays an important centralized role. She greets patients, handles calls and questions from patients and other physicians, is involved with billing – of both clients and insurance companies, organizes medical charts, orders supplies and takes stock of office inventory, and if they have the specialized training for medical transcription, transcribe notes dictated by the physician. Some medical secretaries also act as office managers for the physicians for whom they work if they’ve garnered enough work experience and have proven their professionalism to the doctor.

Many medical secretaries begin their careers as business secretaries then move into the medical field as their interest develops. Extra training may be required for these secretaries as they need to understand medical terminology, medical procedures performed in the specific office in which they work, and diagnosis codes for insurance purposes. The EresumeX - The Job Portal With Ex-Factor Logoeducational requirements to become a medical secretary are minimal. Some physician’s offices may require only a high school diploma if the candidate is personable, has good people skills, and has previous private practice experience. An associate’s degree in business or certificate from a secretarial school is appropriate for employment. The average salary a medical secretary can expect in the United States is $32,000. Medical secretaries can expect to work full-time, 40 hours a week, unless otherwise negotiated during their hiring process. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the growth rate of the medical secretary occupation to continue to grow along with the national average, to increase about 11 percent between 2008 and 2018 (BLS, 2009). In 2008, medical secretaries occupied 471,000 of the more than 4 million secretarial jobs in the United States. Medical and laboratory assistants often perform many of the clerical functions carried out by medical secretaries, so it’s conceivable that medical secretaries could be edged out of some offices where physicians need to cut costs. Medical secretaries will need to keep up with technological trends in the coming years to stay marketable and competitive in the workplace.