Publication Date


Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The newly hired, novice school nurse often transitions from a baccalaureate program or an acute care setting to the school nurse role. This newly hired school nurse may be ill prepared for the wide range of services required in school nursing. The California, coastal school district where this pilot study took place, needed to develop an orientation program for newly hired school nurses. The purpose of the project was to ascertain confidence levels of novice school nurses in performing their new role as compared to experienced nurses. Benner's framework "From Novice to Expert" was used to guide this study. The data obtained provided a baseline for development and implementation of a training program. Two research questions were asked: What is the novice school nurse's perceived level of confidence (as compared to experienced school nurses) performing 46 specified school nursing services, and what is their overall level of confidence in the school nurse role? This descriptive survey design used a Likert type questionnaire to assess confidence levels. Statistical analyses were performed using the Mann Whitney U test due to the small sample size of 14 school nurses (n = 7 novice and n = 7 experienced). Significant differences were found in 13 of 46 school nurse tasks at the p < .05 level and 15 at p < .10. The novice school nurses were less than confident in 22 of the 46 tasks. An awareness of the services that novice school nurses lack confidence in, will allow for the provision of training and orientation programs that cover services not required in other areas of nursing. Competence in performing these services will improve the quality of nursing services and the health of children.