NASN is the premier organization representing the interest of the registered school nurses. NASN advances the school nursing profession through advocacy, professional development and leadership. And, while a lot of the time we are focused on moving the profession and school nursing practice forward as a whole, we do offer plenty of opportunities for you to advance individually as well.
Today’s post is a rare behind-the-scenes look at what school nursing services directors look for in a candidate. The short version? If you want the best school nursing jobs, it really helps to join NASN.
Recently NASN's Jon Lemich spoke with Alicia Casucci, ARNP, CPNP, NCSN, about the value of NASN membership. Here's Jon's description of that conversation.
I had a great conversation with Alicia via email about her role as Director of Nursing Services at Darien Public Schools. If you’re looking for a great job in Darien, Connecticut, Alicia will be one of the managers evaluating your resume. Given the chance to chat, of course Jon asked about the hiring process.
Do you consider applicants who are NASN members to be stronger applicants?
Answer: School nursing requires its own unique skill set, and a nurse who goes the extra mile to remain educated and on the cutting edge of school nursing information is precisely what any hiring manager would desire. Credentials, like NASN membership and national certification, aren’t required; but they certainly show a level of interest beyond that of other nurses. A nurse who has taken the time to join a national association like NASN demonstrates a dedication to best practice and seeking information about current issues in school nursing. Seeing NASN membership listed on a resume would definitely catch my eye and would result in an offer for an interview.
It was at this point that I thought to myself, “Surely there are other factors. We’ve found that school nursing is often the second or third subspecialty for a career nurse, and most nurses join school nursing later in their career.” So what about all that earned experience in the ICU or pediatric hospital?
It turns out that experience, if it’s relevant, matters; but NASN membership helps experienced nurses ground that outside experience in a broader community of school nursing practice where they can learn how to address the particular challenges of their new subspecialty.
Obviously education and direct experience as a school nurse are the most valuable. How does an NASN membership compare to other qualifications like nursing experience outside school nursing?
Answer: In my experience, school nursing is not generally the first step on a nursing career ladder. When I am sifting through resumes, I am looking for candidates a relevant background in pediatric, public health, or primary care office nursing. Of course, finding a nurse who has worked with children who require specialized health care is always an added bonus!
The independent nature of school nursing requires a strong clinical and decision making skill set. If a nurse is looking to make a switch from a hospital, office or public health nursing job into school nursing, seeing the initiative to educate oneself about school nursing, through an organization like NASN would enhance their candidacy. Holding membership in NASN would demonstrate a sincere interest in school nursing, both in its joys and challenges.
What do you think is the most valuable thing NASN membership provides that helps your nurses perform better?
Answer: There are several key factors that make being a member in NASN invaluable. The first is you are automatically connected with fellow school nurses across the country. It’s always interesting for me to read how nurses in a school a thousand miles away are seeking the same information I am. Further, I find the message board and frequent email updates to be extremely informative and timely. A NASN membership also provides a direct connection with your home state’s school nurse association. The local association is a great resource for school nursing practice in your state, as well as providing updates on legislation and how it may affect you as a school nurse. Membership also gives you access to fantastic continuing education opportunities such as local or national conferences and meetings vital to keeping current. The Journal of School Nursing also provides a school nurse with well-written articles and relevant research to support school nursing practice and guides decision making.
Staying connected with other school nurses and participating in continuing education activities are probably the most valuable aspects to NASN membership and without a doubt contribute to my nurses taking their school nursing practice to the next level.
If you’re looking for a job as a school nurse, seeking a promotion, or just looking to get noticed by your director of nursing services, join NASN or renew your membership today. Additionally, if you’re a nursing services director interested in hiring the best in school nursing, put your openings on NASN’s job board
Looking to advance your career #TodaysSchoolNurse has you covered.