Teachers and administrators are crucial advocates when ensuring our children receive a quality education. A role that sometimes goes under the radar is the job of a school nurse who provides medical assistance to make sure they are healthy while learning.
Their importance will be nationally recognized on May 6, when School Nurse Day is celebrated. According to the National Association of School Nurses, the holiday was adopted in 1972, under a proclamation made by President Gerald Ford. However, their daily duties should be celebrated throughout the year as these unsung heroes provide a safe and healthy place for schoolchildren and faculty.
Attending to emergencies
Statistics from the United States Department of Education states about 60 million primary and secondary-aged students attend public, charter or private schools daily. School nurses are exposed to numerous types of emergencies throughout their year. Here are a few common situations they face, as reported by the NASN.
• Student and staff health-related emergencies or injuries.
• Weather-related situations.
• Hazardous material instances.
The position of the school nurse is even more complicated as many of these emergencies happen to young children who may not understand how to communicate during distress.
Creating care plans
Nurses are required to become familiar with each of the students. The role can be daunting as they must provide accurate documentation and understand an individual’s needs based on their family medical history. To create these custom health strategies, a school nurse utilizes an individualized health care plan. Not only does this plan help them assess a student’s needs during the school day, but it also develops guidelines to be taken during actual or potential emergencies that may occur on field trips or sponsored activities outside of normal hours.
Discovering problems at home
School nurses are prone to discovering signs of abuse or neglect that guidance counselors may fail to see without a student telling them. By analyzing symptoms and suspicious marks on a child’s body, a nurse can report to the proper officials and potentially save a child from harm.