Journal of the Effective Schools Project, Volume 18, 2011 Page: 39
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Healthy Schools-Healthy Students
We have all had school nurses that attended to our health needs. Generations of
sick students have been going to the school nurse. School nurses make schools
more effective by keeping students, faculty, and staff healthy. Their skills and
compassion are an integral part of our school system They work hard every day
in providing a broad range of nursing care for our kids. These are dedicated
individuals who love children and take great pride in making a difference in the
lives of children. Our schools could not function without the dedicated care they
provide. Their care goes beyond insect bites, scrapes, and cuts. They provide
emotional support and counseling that is invaluable to the health of our stu-
dents and their families.
The practice of school nursing has
been around a long time. Public
school nursing in the United States
(U.S.) began in the late 1800s.
During this time, a public health
nurse and social activist Lillian
Wald began assessing New York
City children from poor immigrant
families for head lice, tuberculosis,
and other infectious diseases in
their homes and schools (Stanhope
& Lancaster, 2008 p.982). Ms.
Wald was influential in convincing
New York City (NYC) public
schools that having a school nurse
in public schools was an effective
approach for improving the health
of school children and the commu-
nities where they lived. The NYC
school board agreed to a one
month trial period that allowed the
placement of a school nurse to
treat childhood illnesses at school.
This new model of school health
for NYC schools focused on
providing nursing care for children
Prior to the establishment of the
school nurse, children with minor
or major illnesses were dismissed
from school and sent home to par-
ents for their care. Many of the
children dismissed from school
were living in poverty with their
parents who were poor and could-
n't speak English. Being dismissed
from school for an illness almost
certainly resulted in no treatment
for most of the poor children in
NYC public schools. This became
a new model for school nursing in
New York. In 1902, New York
City (NYC) public schools estab-
lished a school nurse in four public
schools. This model proved that
nursing care could effectively be
provided at school and was effec-
tive in keeping children in school
(National Association of School
As a parent, I remember how the
school nurse was there to take care
of my sick child until I arrived at
school to pick him up. It was reas-
suring to know that a school nurse
would always be available during
school to care for my child. I could
always count on the school nurse
to take good care of my child in
my absence. This gave me comfort
as a parent to know that my child
was in good hands. Prior to these
interviews, my knowledge of the
function and role of a school nurse
was limited. I didn't realize the
scope and magnitude of the role
and function of the school nurse.
Recently, I interviewed three
school nurses in Granbury Inde-
pendent School District (GISD).
Since I am a nurse, this was an
Prior to the establishment
of the school nurse,
children with minor or
major illnesses were
dismissed from school
and sent home to parents
for their care.
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Tarleton State University. Effective Schools Project. Journal of the Effective Schools Project, Volume 18, 2011, periodical, 2011; Stephenville, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth201694/m1/43/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Tarleton State University.