School Nurses – Vital for our Nation’s Youth

The American Academy of Nursing recently released a policy brief, The Vital Role of School Nurses in Ensuring the Health of Our Nation’s Youth, which calls for all students to have daily access to a full-time, baccalaureate-prepared RN in school. According to the brief, “Researchers have found that having a school nurse present decreases absenteeism, increases immunization compliance, improves chronic condition management, promotes health, and assists with identification and management of mental health issues.” In addition, “School nurses deliver skilled health care to students, provide referrals to other providers, and assist families in gaining access to specialized care.”

The brief states that despite the benefits, many schools don’t have access to a full-time nurse due to inadequate funding and lack of integration of school health services into the broader health care system. American Academy of Nursing President Karen Cox states, “Ensuring every school has at least one full-time nurse provides an unparalleled opportunity to improve the health and well-being of our youth,” and that “School nurses provide an essential link between health and education, and their importance to every student in every school should be financially supported by both health and education dollars.”