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School nurses play a vital role, often serving as the first health care provider children see when they are hurt or sick. Interviewing with the principal for a school nurse position offers its own set of challenges: instead of being a medical professional, he's an administrator. Approach the interview prepared to discuss your planning, outreach and interpersonal skills in addition to your medical qualifications.
Blow Him Away With Your Credentials
Principals understand education, so come prepared to showcase your history, including continuing education classes, as well as your certifications and credentials, such as if you earned the National Certified School Nurse certification. This shows a commitment to ongoing learning the principal can likely relate to. Also list your skills outside of normal nursing requirements, such as computer literacy -- some schools require nurses to file paperwork or handle billing on the computer.
Show Him You're a Trainer
In addition to helping children with their medical needs, principals often rely on school nurses to come up with basic and emergency wellness plans. The nurses then relay these plans to the staff, so they need strong skills when addressing groups. Bringing copies of previous wellness plans and training materials with you can help showcase your abilities to the principal. Researching the school's demographics before your interview might allow you to create at least part of a sample plan for his school. For example, if your research shows a high immigrant population in the school, a sample plan might include ways to communicate a child's health issues to parents who don't speak much English.
Focus on Keeping the Kids Learning
Showcase your skills and knowledge in a school environment, where it's not only important to keep children healthy, but to remove distractions so they can focus on learning. Many children with chronic health problems, such as juvenile diabetes or asthma, attend public school, and they must come to you to take their necessary medications. Show the principal how you work out schedules so the children get their medications when they need them without distracting the class and with missing as little education time as possible.
Know the Local Requirements
The exact health and wellness requirements vary by state and local jurisdictions, and the school nurse must be aware of what the school requires. This includes monitoring the school entry records for proper vaccinations of each student as well as planning school-wide or individual health screenings. During the interview, be prepared to answer questions about state and local requirements and how you would ensure the requirements were met.
- Education World: Today's School Nurse -- More Than Just Bandaged Knees
- National Association of School Nurses: Planning a Career in School Nursing?
- National Association of School Nurses: Role of the School Nurse
- State of Maine: School Nurse Job Description -- Sample Role, Qualifications, Functions
- New York Statewide School Health Services Center: School Nurse Emergency Care Course
Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.