Journal of the Effective Schools Project, Volume 18, 2011 Page: 40
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exciting experience for me to have
the opportunity to learn about
school nursing. My career as a
nurse has spanned several years as
a hospital nurse, a nurse manger,
and nursing faculty in a university.
I learned that the school nurse is
responsible for as many as 750
students. In comparison, a hospital
nurse on a medical surgical unit
might only have five patients dur-
ing a shift of duty. The school
nurses told me they would "care
for any child and any illness that
came along during school hours."
It is not uncommon for the school
nurse to see 50 students in the
same day. In the event of an emer-
gency condition, the school nurse
is the first one to respond and fre-
quently is the sole provider until
help arrives. In comparison, nurses
working in hospitals are not alone
in responding to emergencies. Oth-
er nurses and doctors are available
onsite to assist with emergencies.
The school nurse is alone and must
be prepared to act quickly until
help arrives. In addition to caring
for students, the school nurse pro-
vides care for the school faculty
and staff as the need arises.
Common health problems encoun-
tered among school children are
common colds, viral infections,
headache, insect bites, infestations,
and minor injuries. Children with
chronic illnesses attend school and
frequently need nursing care at
school. A common chronic illness
is asthma. A lot of different things
can trigger an asthma attack. When
this happens the school nurse is
there to provide medication and
emotional support. The nursing
care provided at school allows
those students with chronic illness-
es to continue in school. Without
the school nurse managing their
chronic illnesses at school, these
children would not be able to at-
tend class. Children on scheduled
prescribed medications have to go
to the school nurse for their medi-
cines. The school nurse is respon-
sible for the safe storage and ad-
ministration of all medications for
children during school hours. This
can keep the school nurse very
busy depending on how many stu-
dents need medications. Having
the school nurse available to give
the medications keeps the children
from missing school.
In addition to managing colds,
coughs, sneezes, injuries, and giv-
ing medications the school nurse
maintains immunization records
and performs health screening.
Immunization records must be
kept up to date on all students.
Health screenings are routinely
performed for hearing and vision
problems, scoliosis, and acanthosis
nigricans. Children who are identi-
fied with these health problems are
referred to their physician for fur-
ther evaluation. They are also on
the watch for children who have
any communicable health prob-
lems, such as head lice, parasites,
mumps, and measles. The only
place that some children learn
about hygiene is at school. The
school nurse teaches children
about proper hand washing and
hygiene. In the event of an out-
break of illness within the school
the school nurse is responsible for
monitoring the number of events
and works diligently to identify the
source of the outbreak, develops a
plan to prevent new cases from
occurring, and monitors the health
of those affected.
During my interviews, several stu-
dents came to see the school nurse.
During this encounter, I noticed
In addition to managing
colds, coughs, sneezes,
Injuries, and giving
school nurse maintains
and performs health
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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/m1/44/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Tarleton State University.