The National Association of School Nurses (n.d) defines school nursing as a specific practice that expects to secure and advance students' wellbeing, encourage ideal improvement, and advance scholastic achievement. The association indicates that school nurses work on moral grounds and perform their work through evidence-based practice. In essence, both health issues such as complex and chronic conditions and social issues such as poverty, violence, and growing family populations can affect the student's ability to learn. When students come to school, they depend on school nurses and leaders to meet their needs. School nurses play a huge role in ensuring that they bridge the division by providing health care needs to students. The paper discusses the role of the school nurse.
The first role is to allow students to develop their full potential. Maughan (2016) articulates that school nurses have been found to assist students in the process of quitting smoking, losing weight, improving their mental health, and avoiding pregnancy. More to the point, school nurses work in liaison with the school leaders to provide valuable information on matters that affect the student's ability to go to school and learn (Maughan, 2016). Furthermore, the author indicates that school nurses do have a predominant view of the school and can manage to address the physical, mental, and social causes of absenteeism among students. On a broader perspective, school nurses help students to achieve their potential by keeping them in school.
The second role is to provide care coordination. Hoekstra et al (2016) conducted a research on school nurse's views on their roles. In the study, the authors state that nurses described their role as one that includes advising and supporting schools with their personal, social, health, and economic education. As the authors clarify, school nurses indicated that they do so by conveying sessions of health education such as classroom talks and assemblies. Fundamentally, school nurses provide care coordination by working with families. The authors assert that school nurses reported working with families to support students with long-term health conditions and also work with the school to meet the student's needs. Through care coordination, school nurses meet the preferences of students by providing high-value health care.
The third role is to act as advocates for quality student care. In Hoekstra's et al. (2016) study, school nurses revealed that their work is to improve the health of children, young people, families, and the community. They did so through understanding the needs of the community through both local and school health needs evaluation. Moreover, in the study, school nurses affirmed that they worked in teams of health care professionals such as school nurse assistants with formal training and qualified school nurses with degrees. Essentially, when they act as advocates for school children, they protect the health of the children. More so, the school nurse helps the student to understand their illness and get the care that they need.
In summary, school nurses ought to ensure that all students are safe, healthy, and eager to learn. He or she should be at the school at all times and be ready to help the students achieve their potential in school. As seen above, the school nurse helps to keep open lines of communication between the school leaders, parents, community, family, and healthcare providers. Overall, school nurses should apply evidence-based practice to make sure that they meet the health needs of students.
Hoekstra, B.A., Young, V.L., Eley, C.V., Hawking, M.K., & McNulty, M. (2016). School Nurses' perspectives on the role of the school nurse in health education and health promotion in England: a qualitative study. BMC Nursing, 15:73 DOI 10.1186/s12912-016-0194-y
Maughan, E. D. (2016). Building Strong Children. Why we need School Nurses. American Educator. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1094215.pdf
National Association of School Nurses. (n.d). Retrieved from https://www.nasn.org/about
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