Making a Difference in Children’s Health and Academic Success: School Nurses Leading the Way

NASN logo.jpg

Today’s blog is written by Sarah Butler, MS, RN, CDE, NCSN, Director of Diabetes and Nursing Education; Angela Shubert, Assistant Director of Government Affairs; and Nichole Bobo, MSN, RN, Director of Nursing Education, at the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). NASN advances the specialty practice of school nursing to improve the health and academic success of all students.

Today, May 8, is National School Nurse Day, a time when we celebrate and honor the more than 74,000 school nurses who make a difference in the lives of children every day. School nurses care for students and communities, serving a critical role in improving public health and promoting students’ academic success for more than 110 years. Research shows that healthier students are better learners. Indeed, school nurses contribute to their communities by helping students stay healthy, in school, and ready to learn, and keeping parents and families at work.

School nurses use their specialized knowledge and assessment skills to manage children’s increasingly complex medical conditions to prevent complications when at school, including type 1 diabetes (T1D). School nurses are responsible for coordinating and overseeing the medical management and safety of students with T1D.

Together, the school nurse, appropriate school officials and family develop an individualized healthcare plan (IHP) and other educational plans, including 504 plan and IEP, as needed. The IHP includes emergency care plans that help direct the actions of teachers and school staff. While school nurses focus on meeting the immediate needs of children and adolescents with T1D, they also support the student transition toward self-management. Key to successful diabetes management in school, school nurses empower students to stay healthy, active, safe and successful.

Managing diabetes at school is most effective when there is a partnership among students, parents, school nurse, healthcare providers, teachers, counselors, coaches, transportation providers, food service employees and administrators. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) develops and offers school nurses educational opportunities and resources to support them in their key role as care coordinator.

H.A.N.D.S.SM(Helping Administer to the Needs of the Student with Diabetes in School) is a live program that more than 8,500 school nurses have participated in nationally since 2008. The educational training provides updated clinical information, resources and tools. NASN’s publication, Managing Diabetes at School: Tools for the School Nurse, and e-learning modules build on H.A.N.D.S.SM These resources support the school nurse in developing the IHP and facilitate the safe and effective care of students with diabetes in school.

A top priority of this nation should be ensuring that children have a healthy and successful future, equipping them to become productive citizens in society. School nurses are transforming communities by making this vision a reality every day.