Fields within the Medical Path (Part3)

Fields within the Medical Path (Part3)

Do you want aA medical field career, but aren’t sure what you want to do or where you will fit in? Thankfully, there are plenty of career options from which to choose, and not all of them require years of schooling and long residencies.

Perhaps you are interested in dealing directly with people and providing high quality customer service; if so, you might find working as a medical receptionist or hospital intake coordinator appealing. Medical assistants, nurse’s aides, and dental hygienists are just some of the careers that might appeal to those interested in medical field careers without investing years in school. If the idea of long-term training does not deter you, then any number of medical careers exists: physician, nurse, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, physical therapist. Many of these upper level vocations require a minimum of four years in college, with most requiring graduate level work with clinical practice. These careers are challenging in both classroom and real life, but those who have the determination and discipline necessary to succeed in these areas will discover a lifelong, rewarding medical career.

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 levelA nursing degreesA 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.