School Nurses are Vital

Five Ways a School Nurse Benefits the School

1) Attendance
School nurses improve attendance through health promotion, disease prevention and disease management. Students with a full-time school nurse have about half the student illness- or injury-related early releases from school where no school nurse is present.

2) Academics
Improved attendance means the healthy student is in the classroom and ready to learn. School Nurses enable better performance, which also contributes to reducing drop-out rates.

3) Time
School nurses save time for principals, teachers and staff. A school nurse in the building saves principals, teachers, and clerical staff a considerable amount of time that they would have spent addressing health concerns of students.

A school nurse in the building saves:

  • Principals almost an hour a day
  • Teachers almost 20 minutes a day
  • Clerical staff over 45 minutes a day

4) Staff Wellness
School nurses improve the general health of staff. According to school reports, principals, teachers, and clerical staff are VERY satisfied with having school nurses in their schools for several reasons:

  • Teachers can focus on teaching
  • Office staff spend less time calling parents and sending students home
  • Healthy staff means increased attendance and productivity

5) Accountability
School nurses help schools stay accountable.

  • Promoting compliance with federal and state law mitigates lawsuits
  • Advocating for adequate staffing aligns with Healthy People 2020 recommendations of the ratio of one school nurse per 750 well students (1:750)
  • Preparing for emergencies saves lives and property
  • Addressing student mental health links to academic achievement

School nurses are instrumental in the identification and referral to community resources for health risks and are often the only health professional who see students on a regular basis. School nurses are responsible for:

  • Significantly decreasing the amount of days missed due to asthma, the leading cause of school absenteeism, accounting for more than 14 million missed days annually
  • Managing students with chronic conditions such as diabetes and seizures to allow them to stay in class
  • Identifying and treating accidents and injuries
  • Counseling students about physical and emotional issues

SOURCE: National Association of School Nurses

One family member’s story…

Tracy Grant shares the tragic story of how her niece, Mercedes Mears, died of anaphylactic attack due to severe asthma because the school nurse was at one of the other two schools she was assigned to and an untrained school staff member under-responded.

She is now an advocate for having a school nurse in every school and has joined WISH to work toward health equity for all children.