School Nurses: Health Care to Help Children Learn

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE SCHOOL NURSE IN OUR SCHOOLS?

The nurse, in cooperation with others, utilizes the school health program to contribute significantly to the attainment of the full health and educational potential of each individual student. The nurse is a contributing member of the school team and community health planning groups. The nurse is a skilled practitioner who assists with interpreting medical, social, and educational needs within the school and community. The nurse’s particular understanding of health and its effect on learning provides an invaluable aid to teachers and parents. The nurse uses ongoing assessment to help define and interpret students’ total health needs.

Nurses' responsibilities:

  • Develops and maintains a system of care which minimizes the effects of sudden illness and injury @ school.
  • Provides health education to staff and students.
  • Plans prevention programs pertaining to the control of communicable diseases for both staff and students.
  • Provides direct service for those with suspect communicable disease.
  • Acts as a liaison between the school, the public health department, and community to report communicable disease data for intervention.
  • Reviews student immunization data and reports to the Clackamas County Community Health Department.
  • Acts as an educator and resource to personnel in proper first aid techniques and the handling of body fluids.
  • Performs vision, and health screenings to promote optimum learning.
  • Refers children to community healthcare providers for follow up abnormal screening results.
  • Obtains and reviews medical and dental reports from other sources as needed.
  • Assist with planning health needs for children with physical and emotional needs.
  • Develops health care protocols for students with complex or chronic health care needs.
  • Observes, evaluates and conducts annual audits on medication administered in the school setting.
  • Teaches appropriate staff in the safe administration and storage of medication to students.
  • Reports suspect cases of child abuse or neglect to the appropriate agencies to ensure the safety of all children.
  • Assists with safety and emergency programs in the schools.

What happens when the nurse is in the building?
School nurses no longer have set school schedules. The district now has one full time and one part time nurse for each High School feeder system. They divide their time for all of the schools based on student medical needs. At that time first aid, nursing evaluation and assessment, medication administration, and health care referrals are completed. Health screenings are also organized and conducted. They are also available for conversations with parents and staff.

What if my child needs the nurse and she/he is not there?
The nurses carry pagers and cell phones and are readily available as needed for assessment and consultation. For non urgent problems, the first aid trained staff care for the students.

How do I contact my nurse to discuss health care issue for my child at school?
Contact the school office. The secretarial staff have the phone numbers where the nurse can be reached.

Last Modified on February 22, 2012