Since the 2019 pandemic, drastic changes have occurred in many healthcare fields, and school nurse staffing wasn't any different. School nurses saw a drastic change in staffing that did not stabilize over time, and more changes are underway. As such, many school nurses, and those aspiring to be one, are wondering about what the staffing trend will be in the future.
Below, we discuss the expected changes in school nurse staffing in 2023 and how they will impact the industry. Continue reading to find out.
School Nurse Staffing Trends in 2023
School nurses play a crucial role in health management and promotion in our education centres. These responsibilities grow far and wide, encompassing everything that can improve student and staff health and benefit the community.
While the importance of school nurses can not be calculated, changes in staffing trends can. Below are changes you can expect in school nurse staffing trends in 2023.
An Increase in Jobs
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth rate of registered nurses, including school nurses, will reach 6% by 2023, with the growth rate of nurse practitioners being 40% faster. For school nurses, job growth of 12% Is estimated by 2028.
In Missouri alone, there were more than three thousand job openings in 2022, with over 300,000 job openings around the State, which are expected to increase further in 2023. Currently, there are around 96,000 full-time school nurses in the United States, with only 40% of school hiring full-time nurses.
While the 2019 pandemic put a hefty burden on school nurses, it also made the states realize the importance of registered nurses in the school. At the same time, the pandemic led to increased burnout rates, with more school nurses retiring or expected to retire in the following year.
While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every school have a full-time nurse for every 750 students, the number is far from being met. According to a study by the University of Washington, a single nurse was attending to 1173 students. With the increase of school nurses retiring or leaving their positions, these numbers will only increase, and schools will be desperate to fill the vacant positions.
An Increase in Salaries
As the need and demand for school nursing increases and the availability of trained professional to fill these positions decrease, school nurse staffing saw an increase in salaries. Over the past five years, school nurse salaries have increased by more than 10%, reaching an average of $55,000.
While several factors influence how much a school nurse makes, such as education and skills, locations, and certifications, there is no doubt that the average salary will increase.
Increase in Nurse Training Facilities
With the increased demand, nurse training facilities are being funded to meet the requirements. Since the shortage of nurses is expected to increase through 2023, nursing programs aim to address these concerns.
In late 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor announced an $80 million grant to help nursing facilities support nurse education and training. More colleges will be opening nursing programs, and already existing ones offer rolling admission to increase the student body.
An Increase in Skill Requirements
The salary increase is not entirely based on the need for school nurses. Schools understand the importance and responsibilities of school nurses and are now more adamant about the skills their staff possesses before hiring.
School nurse staffing saw an increase in skills and certifications required by schools. While this is partly due to the pandemic wake-up call, schools also want to ensure that their hired nurses can deal with the growing illnesses that haunt the students.
More than 40% of students now suffer from at least one chronic illness, such as diabetes, asthma, or obesity. Moreover, CDC estimates that two students per classroom have some kind of food allergy. While precautions are taken to ensure no such allergies are triggered, these precautions, and often their treatments, require the aid of a trained school nurse.
As such, schools now require nurses to be well-trained in dealing with different conditions, both acute and chronic. Moreover, school nurses will have the required knowledge of different technology being developed and will be introduced in 2023.
School nurse staffing is based on more than physical health. Schools around the country are implementing mental health and anti-bullying programs to help students emotionally. A national survey revealed that around three-quarters of students suffer from some sort of psychological stress. As such, schools require a trained professional's assistance to develop plans and approaches to deal with the rising issue.
Increase in Virtual Interviews
There will also be a change in how schools approach school nurse staffing. While virtual interviews have been standard in many areas of business, the school now also require a series of interviews, the first of which are held through a screen.
While this won’t impact the staff rate or salary much, the increase in procedure can take more time, increasing the waiting period for most job seekers before they hear back.
Moreover, this goes beyond hiring but will also be enforced in the informal job description. More families rely on school nurses for a primary diagnosis since it can save on healthcare and because school nurses are personally familiar with the student’s history. As such, it will not be uncommon for school nurse staffing to see an implementation of virtual consultations for students who are sick at home.
Flexible Working Hours
While most schools prefer full-time nurses, the school nurse staffing trend will see an increase in part-time nurses, giving flexibility in working hours.
This is mainly due to the burden on full-time school nurses, who must deal with many students and staff independently. However, schools do not have the funds to hire multiple full-time nurses. As such, schools take a part-time hiring approach to school nurse staffing to reduce school nurse workload within their budget.
School Nurse Staffing in St. Louis
The changes that school nurse staffing will experience in 2023 will be countrywide. As such, more nurses are looking to avail the opportunity they are presented with. For school nurses in St. Louis, Interim Healthcare can help provide the perfect job suited for their skills, availability, and salary needs.
Contact us at (636) 717-9292 and take advantage of the school nurse staffing changes in 2023.