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I have been out of the nursing profession for 12 years. What can I do to become employed as a school nurse?

Monday February 18, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I have been out of the nursing profession for 12 years. I am enrolled in a nursing refresher course, have been taking CEU courses related to school nursing and plan on renewing my CPR certification. What else can I do to become employed as a school nurse?

Wants to Be a School Nurse

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants to Be a School Nurse,

It sounds like you're on your way. In addition to the steps you are taking now, attend local meetings of the National Association of School Nurses (www.nasn.org) as a guest. Have business cards made and make contacts there. When there's something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. Networking is known to be a very effective way to find a job.

Also do some informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with school nurses. Find them using the association above, through other contacts and by asking around. Information interviewing is a good way to learn more about the specialty and confirm it's what you want to do. Also, it's a great way to make valuable contacts in the specialty.

As soon as you complete your refresher course (even before if you're comfortable), seek substitute school nurse work. Do this by contacting area boards of education and health departments. You also can seek school nurse work through some nursing agencies. This is a good way to get a foot in the door, try out the specialty and gain valuable related experience.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.