Overview and Summary: Back to Class: Perspectives on School Nursing (2023)

For many years, I have heard the beauty of the nursing profession was the ability to change careers many times and stay within the profession. This is still true, but with advances in science and technology, along with the complexity of many of our patients’ conditions, subspecialties in nursing have become more uniquely focused. This has led to less understanding about what other specialized nursing areas do and their unique and needed contribution to patient care along the continuum. One consequence is unintended silos within the nursing profession, which can cause duplication and other complications for our patients.

Evidence-based practice and funding reforms continue to emphasize care coordination for better health and improved costs. Technology has advanced so that data can more easily be shared across settings via electronic health records. Part of the process of transferring a patient to a new unit is to provide a hand off report to assist the new unit providers continue to provide care of the patient. Better understanding of nursing subspecialties can help in these hand-offs. This is especially critical when children are ‘transferred’ back into community.

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For many children with chronic conditions, they transition to the unit of ‘school.’ School nurses are critical members of the healthcare team, but many outside of the school setting may not realize the critical thinking and skill set associated with this specialization and its evidence-based practice. At the same time, some of the emerging issues faced by school nurses (e.g., addressing equity; care coordination and interprofessional practice; population-based care; ethical issues; meeting the needs of a global society) are also faced by nurses in other subspecialties. This OJIN topic focuses on the profession of school nursing, while addressing issues that all nurses may face.

The first article, “Healthy and Ready to Learn: School Nurses Improve Equity and Access” by Johnson, looks at the historical foundation and legal roots of school nursing, with specific focus on students with chronic conditions and the rules and regulations that impact students. Federal laws, such as the Rehabilitation Act first passed in 1973, forbid discrimination against students attending public schools. The article describes challenges that school nurses face in different regions or states of the country. Johnson highlights the impact that state nurse practice acts, along with variable funding, may have on school nurse staffing models. In addition, she outlines opportunities that technology may provide to enhance care and share data (via electronic health records). The content of this article will help fellow nursing professionals better understand the important role school nurses play in advocating for students in the school setting; address the continuum of care after patients are discharged or leave the office and return to their normal life; and realize why school nurses may ask for certain paperwork or documents.


The next article, “Interprofessional Collaborative of Practice and School Nursing: A Model for Improved Health Outcomes,” builds upon the importance of teamwork and interprofessional collaboration. Authors, Fleming and Willgerodt, share an overview of the relevant principles and background, including the core competencies for interprofressional collaborative practice. Examples of these core competencies draw on the role of school nurses. School nurses work in teams from education, health, and even the broader communities of their schools. Anyone who impacts the health of their students is a partner. For students with chronic conditions, school nurses use care coordination and case management skills, working with everyone involved to support student success. This also requires the development of an individualized healthcare plan to direct care formed during the school day in accordance with goals of the student, family, and team. The article concludes by outlining some challenges to interprofressional practice. Fleming and Willgerodt’s article will provide insight into the roles that school nurses play in teams, but the principles of the article can apply to any nursing subspecialty.

The article, “School Nursing and Population Health: Past, Present, and Future” by Bergren, may seem to switch gears by addressing an evidence-based topic that has emerged in recent years in healthcare discussion: population health. Although new to some areas of healthcare and nursing, population health has always been a key responsibility of school nurses. In fact, the historical roots of school nursing began by addressing the population of immigrant children living in the tenement housing of the lower east side of New York City. Early on Lillian Wald, the founder of school nursing, saw the interconnection of factors in society and homes that influence health. Bergren discusses the evolution of population health over time, and then shares the current role of school nurses today. Examples include identification of health inequalities; vaccination compliance; infectious disease surveillance; nutrition; and health education about a variety of subjects. School nurses also support broader population efforts through participation on school wellness councils. Nurses from other professions may address some of these topics and/or see the impact of these concerns in their practices. In reality, this article provides another example of the interprofessional practice of nursing, through the lens of school nurses.

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Another topic applicable and critical to all areas of nursing is ethics. The American Nurses’ Association (2015) has provided the Code of Ethics to guide nurses. Yet how do the principles of ethical practice and decision making impact daily practice? In the article, "Ethical Issues in School Nursing," Savage outlines how the unique position of school nurses considers both how healthcare laws and practices and education laws and practices can cause ethical dilemmas. After a brief review of the literature specific to school nursing and ethics, she shares two common ethical theories and applies them to school nursing situations, such as medication in the school, student responsibility, and suspected child abuse. Savage outlines principles that can apply when making ethical decisions, and provides additional examples of this process. The article offers a rich discussion of other ethical concerns and principles that apply to all areas of nursing, such as moral distress, moral courage, legislative advocacy, and social justice. She ends with materials and resources that are helpful to all.

Finally, the topic expands from a local community perspective to a global perspective. In the article “U.S. Licensed School Nurses Working in an International Setting,” Hudson and Tsurumaki share the fascinating world of international student health. First, they discuss the history, location, funding and governance, and families that attend two different types of oversea schools: United States Department of Defense Schools and international schools. The authors then compare and contrast some of the student challenges and nursing roles in these schools. They bring their rich personal experiences and examples to discuss nursing challenges faced while working in international settings. Their insight will be helpful to any nurse interested in working overseas, as well as for nurses in the United States who work with children returning from other countries, known as Third Culture Kids (TCK). A global concept, TCK are students who have lived outside their ‘native’ country, have integrated into another culture, and return to their country of origin. The authors provide implications for practice to help these students navigate the challenges related to culture and adjustment.

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The principles and concepts addressed in these OJIN topic articles, while offered in the context of school nursing, are often applicable in any nursing setting. The articles provide insight and skills that will assist every nurse toward more holistic practice: no matter your work setting. In school or otherwise, we care for the same patients. Each is a holistic being who is part of a family, and community beyond the walls of the institution where we work. As nurses, we see different aspects of patients, depending on where and when we have the privilege to work with them.

In many areas of healthcare, nurses see patients during their most vulnerable times in a clinic or hospital setting. School nurses are in the unique position to see students and their families in their vulnerable times, as well as their best moments of wellness, and in their own homes and community. School nurses' documentation of care are valuable resources for the entire health team. Understanding how care continues when patients are in the community will help all subspecialties of nursing work together, as a stronger nursing force to meet the health and well-being of all.

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An added bonus to reading these articles is the opportunity to learn and better understand the role that school nurses play to define and address health needs in the continuum of care for students and their families. The concepts in the articles also address some key roles of school nurses as outlined in the Framework for 21st Century School Nursing Practice (NASN, 2017). For more information on this framework please go to https://www.nasn.org/framework.

The journal editors invite you to share your response to this OJIN topic addressing school nurse perspectives either by writing a Letter to the Editor or by submitting a manuscript which will further the discussion of this topic which has been initiated by these introductory articles.

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Erin D. Maughan, PhD, MS, RN, PHNA-BC, FNASN, FAAN
Email: emaughan@nasn.org


What is a brief overview for nursing? ›

Nurses are in every community – large and small – providing expert care from birth to the end of life. Nurses' roles range from direct patient care and case management to establishing nursing practice standards, developing quality assurance procedures, and directing complex nursing care systems.

What is the summary of school nurse role? ›

The school nurse role includes:

Administer medications and monitor delegated medication administration; Assist in the evaluation of students for Special Services (Special Education); Coordinate and provide vision and hearing screenings; Assist families in accessing health insurance and health care services; and.

Why are nursing theories important to you as a nursing student? ›

They provide a foundational knowledge of care concepts that enable those in the profession to explain what they do for patients and the reasons for their actions. This is particularly important because it helps nurses articulate evidence that justifies the methodologies behind their practice.

How do school nurses impact students? ›

School nurses help students and families in many ways.

A school nurse can help students and their families: Get access to health insurance. Coordinate care by communicating between the family and health care providers. Educate families on what health care services are available to their child at school.

What makes you the best candidate for a school nurse position at our school? ›

School nurses need to work well independently and be organized. Talk about your ability to do both. If you have work experience with children, highlight that as well.

How do you summarize nursing experience? ›

What should be included in your nursing resume summary?
  1. Years of relevant experience.
  2. A summary of your qualifications for the job in question.
  3. A sense of your work or management style.
  4. Personal characteristics that make you a good fit for the job and/or company.
  5. Professional achievements.

How do you write a nursing assessment summary? ›

How to write a nursing progress note
  1. Gather subjective evidence. ...
  2. Record objective information. ...
  3. Record your assessment. ...
  4. Detail a care plan. ...
  5. Include your interventions. ...
  6. Ask for directions. ...
  7. Be objective. ...
  8. Add details later.
Mar 10, 2023

What are the main goals of school nurse? ›

School nurses provide quality health care and intervene with actual and potential health problems. Health care for chronic and acute illness, as well as injuries in the school setting, is a major focus of the role of the school nurse.

What is the goal of school nurse? ›

School nursing, a specialized practice of nursing, protects and promotes student health, facilitates optimal development, and advances academic success.

What is the professional goal for school nurses? ›

The goal of the School Nurse is to promote a safe and healthy community in which the students will be encouraged to become life-long learners, self-managers and self-advocates for health, education and other issues.

What is the purpose of learning theories in nursing education? ›

Learning theories are the main guide for educational systems planning in the classroom and clinical training included in nursing. The teachers by knowing the general principles of these theories can use their knowledge more effectively according to various learning situations.

What is the most important theory in nursing? ›

The person is the most important concept in nursing theory, but each theorist's interpretation of the other concepts is how to differentiate between them.

What nursing theory supports education? ›

Benner's Novice-to-Expert Theory

Nurses advance through a combination of education and experience. In practice, Benner's model is useful in assessing a nurse's professional growth and opportunities for learning.

What makes a good school nurse? ›

A school nurse should be caring and compassionate, especially concerning children. (Reference 1) This extends to caring about the whole child, realizing that many factors can affect a child's illness, and that an injury or illness can affect other aspects of her life, both at home and at school.

What issues affect school nurses? ›

The most frequently reported school-based challenges school nurses face are having limited resources and a high caseload. They also faced barriers like communication challenges, multiple documentation requirements, conflicting needs and points of view, and working in isolation.

What is the biggest challenge in nursing school? ›

Homework and Assignments

You may be busy with lectures, labs, assignments and projects. Nursing students can expect many hours of reading, independent case studies and presentations during their time at school.

What is the best part about being a school nurse? ›

School nurses can make a significant difference in students' lives and build meaningful relationships. Many get to watch their students grow and develop over several years. They can also have many positive interactions with children as they support and assist them with diabetes or other medical conditions.

Why do people want to be school nurses? ›

Not only will you get to help children feel better every day, you're also a kind of educator as well. School nurses are often responsible for working with administrators on health education for the students. You'll get to answer questions and help children become informed about their health.

How do I summarize my experience? ›

How to Describe Your Work Experience
  1. Begin each item by stating the name of the place, location, dates, and job title (e.g. manager, volunteer) List experiences in reverse chronological order (most current experience first).
  2. Describe your responsibilities in concise statements led by strong verbs.

How do you write a good experience summary? ›

An effective resume summary follows this formula: Professional Title (if relevant) + Key Experiences (with the total number of years worked) + Top Achievements (preferably measurable results) + Top Skills/Expertise/Unique Values (relevant to the job and industry).

How do you introduce yourself in a nursing assessment? ›

Introduce: Introduce yourself by your name and role. For example, “I'm John Doe and I am a nursing student working with your nurse to take care of you today.” Duration: Estimate a time line for how long it will take to complete the task you are doing.

How do you write a good nursing statement? ›

How to write a nursing personal statement
  1. Research the program. Knowing specific details about each program you're applying to can help you explain why you're a good candidate. ...
  2. Read the directions. ...
  3. Think about your motivations. ...
  4. Tell a story. ...
  5. Review before you submit.
Mar 10, 2023

What is a summary of assessment findings? ›

A detailed summary of the assessment findings should include: the number of students assessed and the distribution of their scores for each measure. Results can be summarized using tallies of the number of students who achieved a certain rating on a rubric, percentages, averages, or qualitative summaries.

What is an example of a smart goal for a school nurse? ›

Simple Goal: I want to train other health office nurses and staff. SMART Goal: By the end of the month, I will train and observe all health staff on taking a blood sugar. Simple Goal: I want to have 100% of my screenings complete by the second month of the school year.

What is an example goal statement for nursing school? ›

My passion for nursing stems from my love of working with children and my experiences with friendly, caring nurses as a child, which taught me that nurses have a tremendous impact on individuals' daily lives. My goal is to help as many patients as possible while assisting in recovery and providing emotional support.

What are the four main goals of nursing? ›

Top Career Goals for Nurses
  • Increase Technology Skills. Medical technologies and systems are continuously evolving. ...
  • Improve Communication Skills. ...
  • Improve Clinical Recording Skills. ...
  • Activate Professional Development.
Dec 16, 2021

What was the goal of the first school nurse? ›

Lillian Wald, head nurse, appoints Lina Rogers as the nation's first school nurse. The goal is to decrease absenteeism following implementation of mandatory school attendance. Between 1902 and 1903 the number of absentees decreases from 10,567 to 1,101.

What are the duties of a school nurse quizlet? ›

They contain medical data and plans for medication administration and emergency care. All school personnel assist with identification of children and youth at risk for physical, emotional, or educational problems.

How to write a personal goal statement for nursing school? ›

Consider your interests, including how they will contribute to your success in the program. Provide examples of nursing goals, leadership, mentorship, or growth you have accomplished or experienced. Write these down and keep them in mind as you begin your draft. Choose appropriate topics for your statement.

What are the 5 smart nursing goals? ›

What Are Nursing SMART Goals?
  • Be specific. Setting broad nursing goals allows them to be open for interpretation. ...
  • Keep it measurable. For goals to be effective, there must be some way to measure your progress. ...
  • Keep it attainable. ...
  • Be realistic. ...
  • Keep it timely.
Aug 3, 2018

What are professional learning goals in school? ›

Professional Learning Goals (PLGs) are based on student learning data, performance evaluation data, and school improvement goals. The purpose of PLGs is to drive job-embedded learning for the educator.

What are the three learning theories in health education? ›

Therefore, the behaviorism theory is teacher-centered; cognitivism, humanism, and constructivism theory are learner-centered. These theories can provide rational basis for the selection of specific teaching-learning methods/strategies, framing learning objectives, and select/design evaluation strategies.

What is the importance of theory and practice in education? ›

The connection between practice and theory is important as it demonstrates your ability to use evidence to increase your understanding of key concepts, justify your decision making, and inform future practice.

Which purpose does a Nursing Theory fulfill? ›

Nursing theories attempt to determine what's most important to nurses, explain how to apply medicine, and guide the practice of nursing in the future. All theories work toward the ultimate goal of improving patient care.

What are the three important nursing theories? ›

The three main categories of nursing theories are grand nursing theories, middle-range nursing theories and practice-level nursing theories. Different levels of nursing theories may influence others.

What are the basic concepts of nursing? ›

Four major concepts are frequently interrelated and fundamental to nursing theory: person, environment, health, and nursing. These four are collectively referred to as metaparadigm for nursing. Person, Nursing, Environment, and Health – the four main concepts that make up the nursing metaparadigm.

What are the core concepts of nursing? ›

Caring is best demonstrated by a nurse's ability to embody the five core values of professional nursing. Core nursing values essential to baccalaureate education include human dignity, integrity, autonomy, altruism, and social justice. The caring professional nurse integrates these values in clinical practice.

What are the three main learning theories as applied to nursing education and practice? ›

There are three main categories of learning theories: Behaviorism -focuses only on the objectively observable aspects of learning. Cognitive theories - look beyond behavior to explain brain-based learning. Constructivism - learning as a process in which the learner actively constructs or builds new ideas or concepts.

What is the most commonly used theory in health education? ›

The most-often used theories of health behavior are Social Cognitive Theory, The Transtheoretical Model/Stages of Change, the Health Belief Model, and the Theory of Planned Behavior.

What is the theory of change in nursing education? ›

The Change Theory of Nursing was developed by Kurt Lewin, who is considered the father of social psychology. This theory is his most influential theory. He theorized a three-stage model of change known as unfreezing-change-refreeze model that requires prior learning to be rejected and replaced.

What skills are necessary to be an outstanding school nurse? ›

The six core competencies include the ability to (1) provide patient-centered care through the integration of knowledge and skills; (2) communicate and collaborate with students, teaching staff, and community resources; (3) think critically for evidence-based practice; (4) implement school health services and programs; ...

What is evidence-based practice for school nurses? ›

Abstract. School nurses need to demonstrate that their practice is based on the best evidence available, which is usually data obtained from research. Evidence-based practice involves combining the best evidence available with nursing expertise and patient and family preferences to determine optimum care.

What is your greatest skill as a nurse? ›

The key to being a successful nurse is communication.

Communication skills are one of the most important requirements of a nurse's job—both following directions and communicating with patients and families. Patients who are sick or suffering often are not in a position of strength to speak up for themselves.

Why is nursing school so challenging? ›

Why is nursing school so hard? The top 6 challenges of earning a BSN include the rigorous curriculum, fast pace, need for multitasking, time commitment, personal sacrifices, and NCLEX preparation. However, despite these rigors, it's possible to rise up and master how to succeed in nursing school.

What is a weakness in nursing school? ›

Examples of common nursing weaknesses our experts say they hear include: Paying too much attention to detail. Wanting to do everything at once. Spending too long on paperwork. Having a lack of clinical experience (for new grads)

What is the number one reason for failure in nursing school? ›

Some of the common reasons nurses drop out of nursing school include poor time management skills, overwhelming stress, bad study habits, and difficulty taking the new NCLEX-style questions on exams.

How stressful is school nursing? ›

Stress in nursing school is completely normal. Whether you are worried about a big test, laboratory demonstrations, or clinical rotations, stress as a nursing student is real and normal.

What is hard in nursing school? ›

One of the reasons why nursing school is so hard is that nursing students need to manage multiple academic responsibilities at the same time. As a nursing student, you'll not only need to do well on exams, but you'll also need to develop hands-on skills, communication skills, and bedside nursing skills.

Is it normal to struggle in nursing school? ›

It's common for students to want to give up on nursing school at some point. If you find yourself struggling in our ABSN program, don't give up. It's only 16 months, and if you make your education a top priority, these struggles tend to have a way of working themselves out.

What is the most important role of a school nurse? ›

School nurses help students and families in many ways.

A school nurse can help students and their families: Get access to health insurance. Coordinate care by communicating between the family and health care providers. Educate families on what health care services are available to their child at school.

What to expect to learn in nursing school? ›

You'll learn the art of caring for patients while studying the human body, science, and pharmacology (the use and effects of drugs on the body). Depending on the school you attend, most likely a general orientation will be held for first-year and second-degree nursing students.

What do you like about school nursing? ›

Many school nurses have reported that they feel less stress working in a school compared to other nursing environments. They enjoy their own office, as well as having the weekends, holidays and summers off. On top of that, they also get snow days.

What are the benefits of nursing school? ›

A BSN can help you gain more skills, allowing you to take on more responsibilities in your organization. As a BSN-prepared nurse, you may have the necessary skills and knowledge to become a leader in your organization.

What is the role and responsibilities of nurse conclusion? ›

In conclusion, Nursing is an ethical job that is needed throughout the world. It exists in the modern age as a way to care for and to help people, and to maximize the way we treat people. Nursing is also very ethical, each patient is taken care differently and have different choices according to their ethics.

Which is the main focus of care for a school nurse quizlet? ›

Because secondary prevention involves caring for children when they need health care, this is the largest responsibility for the school nurse. This includes caring for ill or injured students and school employees.

Which is a role of a school nurse quizlet? ›

They contain medical data and plans for medication administration and emergency care. All school personnel assist with identification of children and youth at risk for physical, emotional, or educational problems.

What is the conclusion of role play in nursing education? ›

Also, care providers need to be tolerant during their interaction with their patients in order to avoid any interpersonal conflicts. Conclusions: The use of a role play situation between a nurse and a patient is very important, because it can contribute to the implementation of the expected therapeutic outcome.

What is the main responsibility of nursing? ›

Nurses are responsible for recognizing patients' symptoms, taking measures within their scope of practice to administer medications, providing other measures for symptom alleviation, and collaborating with other professionals to optimize patients' comfort and families' understanding and adaptation.

How do you write a good conclusion for nursing? ›

The conclusion must be enough to pull together and briefly summarise the main points of the assignment. There must not be any new information in this section. All the findings and learning that have been gained through the nursing assignment must be re-iterated in conclusion for further research.

Which is the main focus of care for a school nurse community care? ›

Within these tasks, the three main goals of the modern school nurse are disease prevention, providing culturally competent care in diverse school settings, and ensuring equitable access to healthcare.

How do you stay focused in nursing school? ›

8 Nursing School Tips for Success
  1. Find Effective Study Habits. ...
  2. Get Organized. ...
  3. Ask Questions. ...
  4. Set Goals. ...
  5. Treat Nursing School Like a Full-Time Job. ...
  6. Establish Support Systems. ...
  7. Take it One Day at a Time. ...
  8. Maintain a Healthy Balance Between School and Life.
Oct 7, 2022

Which responsibility is included in the role of the nurse educator in a school of nursing? ›

Nurse educators are responsible for designing, evaluating, updating, and implementing new and current nursing education curriculum. These educational professionals act as both advisers and role models for the students, assisting them in their journeys toward becoming successful licensed registered nurses.

How is a school nurse a leader? ›

You lead students, faculty and staff in your school; you lead the community in which you live and work. You guide people toward health. They request information when faced with a health crisis. You take control in emergencies.

Why are careful records and quality control essential to the school nurses role? ›

School health records provide the mechanism for a school nurse to communicate information to students, families, the school multidisciplinary team, emergency personnel, other healthcare providers, and school nurse substitutes.

Which of the following are components of the role of the school nurse? ›

School nursing responsibilities include making sure that children get the health care they need, including emergency care in the school; keeping track of the state-required vaccinations that children have received; carrying out the required screening of the children based on state law; and ensuring that children with ...


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