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Learning Center Experience
By Lynnae Lockett, Kaplan University School of Nursing
United States has entered an era when more public health attention is being given to
efforts to protect and improve the health of the American people and
environment. The continuing increase in the cost of medical care has the
attention of public health officials and policy makers. Public health nursing is rooted to promote physical
and mental health and the prevention of disease, injury, and disability. The
practice of public health nursing encompasses the individual client, the family
and support system of the client, as well as the community in which the client
resides. Public health nurses can practice in client’s homes, local health
departments, community health clinics, schools, and community service
institutions. These nurses provides services to monitor health status; identify
health problems; educate people about health issues; develop partnerships to
identify and solve problems; develop policies and plans for individuals and
communities; link people to resources to have access to health care when
otherwise unavailable; and evaluate the effectiveness, accessibility, and
quality of personal and population-based services.
While there are many roles in
public health nursing, the area that I want to spotlight today is the school
nurse. A school nurse provides many services to the students beside the routine
eye exams and the scoliosis check. A school nurse supports the provision of
quality health services in schools to promote student health. The school
nursing programs also assists schools with an all-hazard approach to emergency preparedness. School nurses give care to
children as direct caregivers, educators, counselors, consultants, and case managers. The need for school nurses is
only increasing and demand is expected to rise. According to Healthy People
2020, one objective or goal to achieve is 1 nurse for every 750 students in
each school (USDHHS, 2013). In 2006, the data reflected that 40.6% of schools
have obtained that goal. Healthy People 2020 have targeted to increase that
goal to 44.7% by 2020. Many of our schools do not have a school nurse present
in the building every day, and this evidence personifies that demand and need
for school nurses.
leads to the next question. What are the qualifications to become a school
nurse? The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) recommends that a
school nurse be registered nurses who have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a special certification in
school nurse (Lancaster & Stanhope, 2012). These are the
recommendations but each state establishes their own guidelines or
qualifications for the school nurse position in its district. A study was
conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2006 identified
that only three states (Delaware, District of Columbia, and New Jersey)
required schools to have a full-time school nurse (Lancaster & Stanhope,
The need role of the school
nurse is expanding to help provide the care our students need during school
hours. In addition, the future of school nursing is evolving and will become
more technology savvy. For instance, telehealth and telecounseling will enable school
nurses to teach health education. The Internet
will be a line of communication between the school nurses and the children and
their parents, and teleclinics will be operated out of school to provide
services to the students. Due to continuous changes in the medical profession,
school nurses need to familiarize themselves with these evolving practices so
the care provided to the children can be enhanced by new trends in health care.
J. & Stanope, M. (2012). Public health nursing: A population centered
health care in the community. Maryland Heights, MI: Elsevier Mosby.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS).
(2013). Healthy People 2020. Retrieved
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