The Rise of the NYC School Nurse

NursingAugust 28, 2020

It’s more evident than ever before how much we rely on our frontline workers — especially those in healthcare — to keep our communities running.  And while the term “frontline” might conjure an image of those who work specifically in hospital ERs and ICUs, the truth is it applies to nurses in New York City, as well as those across the country, in a wide variety of roles and healthcare settings.

Take, for example, school nurses.

Years of staffing shortages and funding battles have left many schools without a dedicated on-site nurse, forcing teachers and administrators to pick up the slack. This results in a great many students moving in and out of classrooms every day without a trained healthcare professional available to assist students who have chronic illnesses like asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and so on with regular treatments and oversight they need. This also leaves the treatment of minor illnesses and injuries to the classroom teacher or administrator.

The spread of COVID-19 has suddenly moved student and teacher health concerns to the forefront. It’s no longer reasonable to ask other school staff to facilitate the health and wellness of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of students and adults in the middle of a pandemic. This likely explains why, in mid-August, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that as part of his plans to reopen schools across the city every New York City school would have a certified nurse on staff.

This big push to bring nurses back on site as the key healthcare coordinator in schools is good news for everyone studying to become a nurse. Mayor de Blasio’s plan calls for the hiring of 400 full-time nurses, a major hiring surge that will expand what was already a high need for trained, skilled nursing professionals in the nation’s largest school system. It means that students attending nursing schools in Queens, Staten Island, and across New York City are well-positioned to be in great demand as soon as they graduate. 

A career as a school nurse is an ideal path for those who want to pursue a nursing program and have a passion for public education and providing guidance and mentorship to the students in their care. It’s also a great way to make an impact on your community since students can’t learn effectively if their health is compromised. School nurses also often help recognize and provide support for other factors that impact student success like nutrition, housing, and social services. 

If you are interested in becoming a school nurse, St. Paul’s School of Nursing can help. Our nursing programs in Staten Island and Queens train you in the knowledge and skills you need to sit for the state licensure exam. Click here for more information or call us today at (855) 822-3018 and speak to one of our career counselors.