School Nursing is a specialized area of professional practice for Registered Nurses. The school nurse is the leader in the school community to oversee school health policies and programs; serving in the pivotal role to provide expertise for the provision of school health services and promotion of health. Using clinical knowledge and judgment, the school nurse cares for students and staff, performs health screenings and coordinates communication with the medical home or private healthcare provider. The school nurse serves as a liaison between school personnel, family, community and healthcare providers to advocate for health care and a healthy school environment (NASN 2011). School nurses work to reduce and eliminate health related barriers to the education process for students. To that end, school nurses facilitate positive responses to normal development, promote health and safety, intervene with actual and potential health problems, provide case management services, and actively collaborate with others to build student and family capacity for adaptation, self-management, self-advocacy, and learning (NASN).
School nurses are trained health professionals with a degree in nursing, licensure as a Registered Nurse in the state of NC and specialty certification by the National Board for Certification of School Nurses or the American Nurse’s Credentialing Center (required for LEA hired school nurses). School Nursing practice requirements and recommendations are provided by the NC Board of Nursing and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). School nurses collaboratively plan for the health care needs of students as a team member with families, school staff and student health care providers. They are guided by the National Association of School Nursing’s Code of Ethics which recognizes each individual’s inherent right to be treated with dignity and confidentiality. Most school nurses are hired by the local education agency to work within that specific school district. Other school nurses are contracted from the local health department or local hospital affiliation. All regular North Carolina public schools are served by a school nurse who may be assigned to multiple schools in the local system.
School Nursing services include, but are not limited to:
- Individual health care needs assessments for students and staff members.
- Health care plan development, revision and evaluation including Emergency Action Plans, Individual Health Care Plans and health related components of Individual Education Programs.
- Direct provision of nursing health care services.
- School staff instruction and supervision in provision of care for students with special health care needs.
- Instruction and oversight for medication administration processes in schools.
- Emergency and injury care, planning and training.
- Communicable disease control and outbreak response in schools.
- Assessment of school community health and safety issues.
- Student screening for conditions that impact access to education, such as vision screening.
- Member and resource for student assistance teams that develop health related student accommodations.
- Health related community resource liaison for schools.