During many years the role of school nurse was traditionally viewed as one where the nurse cared for students that were injured, applied bandages and gave out ice bags. Throughout the years the role of the school nurse has evolved into one of leadership and management along with many other duties including traditional roles as mentioned above. The services provided by a school nurse range from assessment and screening to coordinating care for regular students as well as students with special needs. School nursing requires experience and knowledge in school, public, community and emergency health to meet the many needs of school aged children and youth. The school nurse provides many services but the basic services provided include illness and injury assessment and interventions, medication administration, screenings for health factors, disease management, health education, and preparing individual education plans for students.
Role of Nurse
The school nurse has many responsibilities, foremost the nurse is accountable for promoting and protecting the health of the students and staff at the school. The nurse is able to fulfill this task by screening the students for health factors such as vision and hearing and providing staff in-services for special health considerations and promoting healthy activities. Screening and assessing the students also meets the state requirement that mandates the nurse to make a yearly report of hearing, screening and immunization records for every student. Furthermore, the nurse advocates for students health and safety by working with other staff members and creating individual education plans for students with mental health needs, chronic and long term illnesses and provides health counseling and referrals to provide an optimal learning experience and education. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services (2011), school nurses have a unique role in providing school health services to children and young adults with special health care needs. The nurse is also vital in communicating health matters between home and school as well as health care providers and school. Chikani and Plonski-Fuqua (2006) state that the most common medical conditions a nurse may encounter include asthma, diabetes, severe allergies, stoma tube care, NG tube care, behavioral health, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy. In order to provide appropriate care for the students the school nurse must have experience in an acute care setting, pediatric assessment, mental health experience and good knowledge of developmental stages of children. Most school nurses work individually so it is important that the nurse is capable of providing the right interventions and is able to recognize emergency situations.
During the observation day at the middle school the nurse had many students come in for different reasons, but one of the more popular reasons was students with upset stomachs or stating “feeling like they’re going to faint”...