As student population becomes medically delicate these days, educational departments and establishments continue to take consideration of employing licensed nurses in school premises, particularly delegating them in school clinics in order to provide basic medical needs among students and school personnel.
But what is being a school nurse exactly? Although you have already met this term in your lessons during your nursing student years, if you were not able to set foot in a school clinic as a school nurse, you will not know the entire roles and responsibilities of a school nurse.
Basically, what you will most likely believe about school nursing is that it is a kind of nursing job that requires you to stay inside a school clinic and wait until a student arrives and requests you to apply dressing to his wound or asks you for a medicine to relieve his tummy aches.
Exactly. But, school nursing is not only limited to performing basic first aid management and administering over the counter medications to students. It generally involves a wide range of assignment.
Roles and Responsibilities of a School Nurse
In a school setting, students and school personnel are the main clients of a school nurse. And as part of school nurse’s responsibilities, he or she does the following tasks:
1. Provide health assessment.
Just like in a hospital or clinical setting, the scope of school nursing also focuses on the nursing process which basically emphasizes the importance of health assessment. A school nurse obtains health and developmental history to the clients by taking their weight, height, vital signs and assessing their general well-being. The data the school nurse obtains will be recorded and will become the basis of the clients’ health status. Furthermore, a school nurse also identifies any underlying condition by screening the clients and determining any abnormalities that are found through physical examinations.
2. Implement nursing health plan.
Once health problems are documented and interpreted, a school nurse develops nursing plan and provides appropriate management according to the client’s condition. A school nurse may administer over the counter drugs for minor ailments and provide specific interventions according to the client’s health needs. For serious illnesses and injuries that are beyond a school nurse’s scope, clients are referred to other community health resources for further management.
3. Render health teachings.
A school nurse provides up-to-date health information to clients by doing classroom to classroom visitations every week. Information regarding the importance and proper tooth brushing, benefits of good nutrition and hygiene, and maintenance of a clean and healthy environment that is conducive for learning are few information a school nurse may impart to the students as well as to the school personnel.
4. Promote control of communicable diseases.
A school nurse should also act as a health specialist by encouraging the clients to prevent communicable and infectious diseases. He or she is expected to assist certain programs such as immunization programs, early detection, and reporting of transmissible diseases.
5. Assist any health-related activities.
A school nurse is also tasked to assist activities that he or she conducts such as dental extraction, medical examinations, local government health monitoring, food safety inspection, deworming programs, feeding programs and many other health-related activities.
6. Evaluate client’s progress towards attaining better health.
A school nurse evaluates whether his or her health plans met the desired outcome by continuously monitoring and documenting client’s progress.
A School Nurse’s Impact to Students
According to Children’s Health Minister Dr. Dan Poulter, a school nurse plays an essential role in improving students’ general health because of his or her extraordinary support to facilitate their normal development and promoting continuity of care across their student life.
As a whole, a school nurse is one among the most important people who can make a difference in a student’s education process.