School Nurses Make A Difference In Children's Lives

Armen Hareyan's picture
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It's National Nurses week. Nurses touch the lives of our loved ones including our children.

Women and men in one of the most trusted professions are being recognized across the U.S. Nurses are in our hospitals, doctor's offices, nursing homes, and schools.

A recent article in the journal Health Affairs cast a spotlight on the "hidden health care system," which is the field of school nursing. School nurses improve the health and safety of all children at school and make many contributions to successful learning.

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"School nurses use their knowledge and skills to help kids stay well, get well, or adapt successfully to having a chronic illness," said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer for the Nebraska Health and Human Services System (HHSS). "Children survive and thrive with extreme medical conditions today that would've kept them from going to their neighborhood school years ago."

While no school in Nebraska is required to have a school nurse, many do. Currently, 212 nurses hold school nurse certificates with the Department of Education.

Some priorities for school nurses today include: establishing programs for safely giving medication, controlling the spread of disease, planning for the needs of children with medical issues at school, meeting requirements for health screenings and immunizations, preparing for possible crisis medical situations, and helping assess children with learning difficulties, in order to determine if there are underlying health concerns.

"The nurse is health consultant, educator, clinician, and supervisor. The school nurse is a part of the multidisciplinary school team and works with teachers and families to make the connection between health and medical needs, and achievement for our children. School nurses are sometimes not very visible to the general public or to the health care system, but to the children, families, and staff who trust them to deliver quality health care, they are essential." said Kathy Karsting, HHSS School and Health Program Manager.

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