Why are school nurses important?

I am a school nurse.  I have been working at my current school for almost five years.  I could go on and on about the importance of school nursing. School nurses play an integral role in public health.  School nurses promote health and safety for students, therefore, ensure academic success for all.  School nurses are in a perfect position to detect health issues early for children that are most vulnerable. School nurses contribute to the future health and success of our nation by taking care of our children.  Need I say more?

According to the National Association of School Nurses, 52 million of the nation’s children attend school every day.  School nurses have early access to all of these children.  This provides us (school nurses) many opportunities to develop healthy lifestyles at an early age, pre-screen for disease, perform vaccinations, and provide acute care when needed.  By doing these things school nurses are able to remove barriers to academic success.

School nurses provide care to children with chronic health conditions while they are in their learning environment.  Approximately 18% of children and adolescents have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition, such as asthma, food allergies, diabetes, and other disabilities.  If a student with any of these conditions does not have proper access to health care, it can make it difficult for them to acquire a satisfactory education.

Every day I wake up, drop my daughter off at daycare, and start my day at school.  I administer morning medications to students who need them.  I assess students who are ill and treat them. I develop educational programs to help them deal with chronic illnesses and prevention. I am in constant contact with their parents while they are under my care. All the while I am constantly checking for their well being.  Are they eating healthy foods in the cafeteria?  Are they able to learn today? Are they safe? Are they happy?

A healthy child can focus on their school work.  A healthy child is involved in extra-curricular activities. A healthy child goes on to bigger and better things.  They have a bright future ahead of them and can achieve unimaginable things.  I had a small role in getting them there.  What did you do today?




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Photo credit: Steve Depolo

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