The school nurse plays an essential role in keeping children healthy, safe, and ready to learn. The school nurse is a member of a unique discipline of professional nursing and is often the sole healthcare provider in an academic setting. Twenty‐first century school nursing practice is student‐centered, occurring within the context of the student’s family and school community. It is essential that all students have access to a full time school nurse all day, every day (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016).
A student’s health is directly related to his or her ability to learn. Children with unmet health needs have a difficult time engaging in the educational process. The school nurse supports student success by providing health care through assessment, intervention for actual and potential health problems, and follow-up for all children within the school setting. The school nurse addresses the physical, mental, emotional, and social health needs of students and supports their achievement in the learning process.
Education of school staff by the school nurse is imperative to the successful management of a child with a chronic condition or special healthcare needs. School nurses may need to delegate healthcare tasks to trained, unlicensed personnel in order to support the health and safety needs of students. However, the availability of school nurses to work directly with students to assess symptoms and provide treatment increases students’ time in the classroom and parents’ time at work.