The Basic Responsibilities Of A School Nurse

A school nurse provides health services to students and school personnel. Nursing services in the school system are an important part of the school health program. The school nurse is the key person in implementing such services so that student learning is supported and maximized. Within the school community, the school nurse is the recognized health services expert with many responsibilities.

School nurses provide direct care to students, school staff and anyone that is a member of the school community. This means that the nurse is responsible for treating acute illnesses and minor injuries suffered by students. The school nurse must be able to administer first aid and CPR when an emergency situation arises. They also need to make the appropriate referrals for further medical care. The school nurse also keeps records for monitoring chronic conditions or potential outbreaks.

Health care screening is another duty of school nurses. They administer screening tests for vision, hearing, nutrition and body mass index. The nurse must look for trends and unusual data from these screenings and refer them to school and health authorities.

The school nurse is also in charge of immunization programs for disease prevention. Students, teachers and their families must be informed of immunization schedules in coordination with other care providers such as community clinics or family physicians. It is also the duty of school nurses to report disease outbreaks and communicable diseases to health officials.

A safe physical environment is another priority of school nurses. He or she must inspect classrooms and other facilities to identify conditions which may be unsafe for students. The school nurse must also observe physical education classes to ensure that no student is harmed during physical activities.

Health promotion is another vital duty of the school nurse. Students must be taught such topics like obesity, healthy eating habits, sex, and drug or alcohol use. These issues are important for adolescents to tackle and the school nurse can play a large role to help students deal with them.

The school nurse also plays the role of counselor. School nurses must be available to talk to students about things like bullying, family issues, and mental health problems. If a situation is deemed unsafe, the nurse must act to protect the student and refer the matter to authorities.

Lastly, the school nurse acts as liaison in the school setting. He or she coordinates the health activities with school personnel, teachers, students and their families, the larger community and other health care providers. The school nurse is a leader in the health services program of the school but also works within a larger health care system to provide the best available care for students.

The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) recommends a bachelor’s degree in nursing for those who want to become a school nurse, although school systems have different requirements for entry. Also recommended is a school nurse certification issued by either the Department of Health or Education at the state or national level.

Providing direct care, health screening, health teaching, counseling and coordinating care in an independent role within the school setting are the major responsibilities of the school nurse.

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