If you think school nursing is all about flu shots, Band-Aids, and record-keeping, you haven't been inside a school lately. School health professionals juggle a complex array of medical and social issues, seeing thousands of students, and often moving from school to school throughout the district.
Nor is their work confined to the nurse's office—they must also interact with other professionals such as teachers, doctors, child study teams, administrators, school counselors, coaches, parents, police officers, drug and substance abuse professionals, social workers, and other education support professionals.
Many Students, Few Nurses
About 50,000 school nurses are employed in America, but we need more. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, schools should have one nurse for every 750 students. The reality is a far cry from the recommendation; about 59% of schools have a higher ratio of students to available nurses. According to statistics from the National Association of School Nurses, in 2005, Michigan, for example, had about 3,611 students for every school nurse, and Utah had only one nurse for every 4,952 students. At the same time, the number of students with medical needs continues to increase.
Yet, school nurses rise to the challenge. Healers, comforters, educators, mentors, trainers, role models, critically-needed members of every school community—heroes all—NEA salutes school nurses this day and every day.
P.S. National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day - May 7, 2009
NASN is a supporter of this awareness day that promotes positive youth development, resilience, recovery, and the transformation of mental health services delivery for children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families. Click here for more information.