A school nurse plays many roles within the educational system as they work to keep the students in their care healthy and safe. On a typical day, a school nurse may administer medications, monitor an ill student’s health and educate a class about proper hygiene. While every school district has its own requirements, most school nurses need at least an associate’s degree in nursing. Additionally, school nurses enjoy an average starting pay of $44,500 a year; however, most nurses will be quick to inform the families they work with that helping children stay healthy is its own reward. The following five tips explain what nurses want their families and colleagues to know about how they can help them to keep students in good health.
Keep Up with Health Records
A major part of ensuring the health of an entire school is making sure that health records are up-to-date. In most states, there are standards established for immunizations that students and their families must adhere to in order to attend school. By keeping up with records, such as sports physicals and immunization schedules, families can make it easier for school nurses to keep track of who needs to have their health records updated.
Update Emergency Information
As a school nurse, there are few things more frustrating than to be faced with an emergency situation without any way to contact a student’s parents. When a sick child has a high fever or an injury, minutes can feel like hours. Therefore, parents should be sure to provide new phone numbers and emergency contacts to their child’s nurse as soon as possible. Prompt attention to a minor illness or injury can often mean a faster recovery.
Follow the Protocol
In every school, there are guidelines that nurses must follow. Therefore, if a nurse sends a child home sick, it is nothing personal. Generally, if a child has a high fever, rash or other symptoms of illness, they are required to stay home from school. Parents can help nurses by keeping their children home when they are sick. Additionally, bring a doctor’s note for any medications that a child must take during the school day.
Ask for Referrals
Nurses are trained to be a helpful resource for all types of health issues. This extends to mental health and recognizing signs of problems and disabilities. For this reason, parents should always know that they can raise their concerns with the school nurse. In many instances, a nurse can provide referrals to counselors, therapists and testing centers that can help parents to receive a diagnosis for their child.
Stop by and Visit
When transferring to a new school or expecting a new school nurse, parents should take the time to stop by and visit with their child. This can help nurses to put a familiar face to the child’s name. In certain instances, such as when a child has allergies, the nurse can be certain to inform other staff members who may need to know. By choosing to work as a partner with the school nurse, parents can be sure that their child and their classmates will enjoy good health.
Nurses play an important role in any school by ensuring that every student is healthy. Parents and nurses can work together to keep students safe by practicing effective communication, record-keeping and by following the appropriate health guidelines. In this way, parents and nurses can become partners in keeping schools safe for everyone.
Mary Taylor is a nurse educator who worked as a school nurse for 10 years of her nursing career. You can read more of her expert advice about nursing careers at Nursing School Rankings.