Funding needed for school nurses to keep students physically, mentally healthy

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By Katie Kanner

“As cuts have deepened and essential personnel have been reduced, schools are quickly finding that nurses are a significant component in addressing not only the health needs of students, but also in creating an emotionally and physically safe learning environment,” says School Nurse Practitioner Maggie Beall, who serves in Pennsylvania.

Maggie has witnessed firsthand just how detrimental these cuts have been for students and their access to proper medical care. In some cases, multiple schools share one nurse by means of daily rotations. In other cases, schools are not even required to have nurses on staff.

School nurses serve as strong influences in promoting healthy lifestyle choices and maintaining positive health outcomes for all of our students. More importantly, nurses serve as vital assets in the daily routines for many of America’s students.

Some estimates claim that nearly 25 percent of the student population has a chronic health condition, or CHC. These conditions can range from physical impairments to emotional and developmental disabilities. Children with CHCs may need insulin for diabetes, an inhaler for asthma, or other routine medications. School nurses are the only qualified experts who can care for and evaluate these conditions. So what happens when they’re not around?

“You hear these horror stories of preventable tragedies. Soon schools are going to be held liable; they need to make the investment not only for students’ well-being, but also for their own protection.”

By supporting school nurses, we can keep our students healthy, as well as encourage their overall academic achievement.

“Unfortunately, when these kinds of health barriers are present, it is difficult for students to truly devote themselves to learning. When these barriers are removed, students experience a great deal of success,” says Beall.

Studies show that schools with nurses on staff experience higher graduation rates. Nurses are easily and readily accessible, so students do not have to waste precious class time on long hospital visits. Seat-time in the classroom is increased, and absenteeism is decreased.

Nurses play a critical role in ensuring that schools are healthy places to learn. When all students can live and learn in a positive environment, their future potentials are nothing but improved.

Reader Comments

  1. I cannot agree with you. Our children need to be more self sufficient.

    There is no need for nurses ,with their own offices . in day schools.
    It is an unnecessary expense.

    Children with diabetes know what they need to do to control their illness, as do those with asthma. If they do not then they should not be in school. I say this because there may not be anyone on the bus, train or at home to tell them what to do.They have to be self sufficient from early age.

    If a child falls and is badly hurt call 911.

    Small cuts need only washing and band aid. This can be done by any adult or senior student.

    I’m tired of schools pleading poverty. They must learn handle their money responsibly and cut out unnecessary expenses.

    1. You obviously do not have a child with a chronic illness. That being said, illnesses such as diabetes and asthma, can change very quickly with children due to there rapid growth and even hormone changes.Hypoglycemia can come about very quickly due to other illness, such as flu, or injury. And an asthma attack can come about because someone is dusting elsewhere, or a construction project is going on over the horizon. Children do not have the mental capacities to always know what to do and (there are some adults who don’t either). There needs to be someone on site who is trained to think logically in an emergency situation involving children. It is considered a medical specialty for a reason. School nurses are needed in all scholls at all times when children are present.

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