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Recommendation letters are necessary for applying to some jobs and always help set candidates apart from fierce competition. Letters are usually written by former employees, teachers and colleagues who have witnessed an applicant perform within a work setting. As of 2011, the availability of school nurse positions was dwindling due to budget cuts in education and increased legal liability associated with administering medical care. With few positions open, applicants hoping to become school nurses rely on strong recommendations to complement their application packets. There are a few guidelines to follow to ensure that your letter will be effective.
Format the letter properly. Recommendation letters are business correspondence. The basic style requires that the text be aligned to the left side of the page. Start your letter by typing your address. Then skip a space and write the date. Beneath the date, write the business address and name of the person to whom the letter is being written. The salutation should be followed by a colon. The body may consist of between one and three paragraphs. Do not indent paragraphs. Simply skip a space between each one. Place a comma after a conventional closing phrase such as "sincerely." Finally, leave space to sign your name by hand and then type your name below the area for your signature.
Plan your content. The content of a recommendation letter for a school nurse should meet three basic goals. It should establish your credibility, describe your relationship with the applicant and explain why the client will be a successful school nurse. When establishing your own credibility, focus on experience you have as an educator or health care professional. Demonstrate your understanding of the open position so that schools will know you are qualified to recommend applicants to fill it. Focus on professional rather than personal experiences you have with the applicant and, in addition to commenting on the applicant's experience with health care and schools, highlight the applicant's ability to manage time, set priorities, interact with families and move quickly between multiple roles. A school nurse does more than just provide first aid and administer prescriptions. A school nurse also must be a community health correspondent, an occasional instructor, a counselor and a student advocate.
Write, edit and revise your letter. As with all writing, having a fresh perspective aids with the editing process, so set your letter aside and take time out to do something else before reviewing it. When the time comes to edit, pay attention to both content and style. Ask yourself if the letter makes sense and sounds professional. Be sure words are spelled correctly. It may help to show your letter to someone else and have him or her provide a second opinion. Make any changes that are needed, and mail the recommendation.
Kelli Karanovich was internationally published for the first time in "Adbusters" in 2006. She teaches online at the Christa McAuliffe Academy and contributes to the blog Mama's Musings. Karanovich holds a bachelor's degree in magazine journalism from the University of Georgia and a certificate to teach from Shorter College.