What Does a School Nurse Do?
child spends more time at school than anywhere else except home.
Schools can have a major effect on children's health, by teaching about
health and promoting healthy behaviors. The school building and
environment should be a safe and healthy place for your child.
Schools work to prevent risky behaviors such as alcohol
and tobacco use, inactivity, or bullying. They may also deal with
specific health problems in students, such as asthma, obesity, and
Buncombe County Schools, in conjunction with the Department of Health,
have employed school nurses for each district. These nurses are
allotted a proportionate amount of time in each school to identify
health needs of individual students and populations of students, to plan
with school personnel to meet these needs and to assess the extent to
which needs are met.
school nurses help to facilitate prevention, detection and effective
management of student health problems. Their assistance also helps
promote and advance successful student learning. Traditional roles of
the school nurse included following up on vision, hearing, and dental
screenings; monitoring communicable diseases and dealing with injuries
and illnesses that occur daily at school. Now more students are coming
to school with serious chronic health conditions, behavioral
disturbances, life threatening allergies, abuse/neglect, nutritional
problems, unintended pregnancies, STDs, HIV, and substance abuse. School
nurses prioritize coordinating the care of these students with serious
Delivery of Health Services
- Participates in the periodic health assessment of students.
- Participates in identification of children with special needs.
- Develops and implements nursing care plans.
referrals and follows-up on children with specific or suspected
health problems, through services such as home visits, parent-nurse
with other student services’ team members (social worker,
attendance counselor, psychologist, guidance counselor) to prevent
health problems from becoming reasons for educational or social
- Supervises prescribed treatments and administration of medicines to students.
with Medical Technology for students entering school needing
invasive procedures (such as tube feedings, catheterizations,
insulin injections, nebulizers, etc.) during the school day.
- Serves as the liaison among family, health care providers, and school staff.
- Develops a care plan in collaboration with the family, student, school staff and physician.
understanding of chronic health conditions and how to handle
issues related to the health condition. Buncombe County Schools had
over 1,000 students with chronic health conditions last school
- Assist with the development of the health component of the IEP.
- Participates in 504 meetings to provide health information and assist with developing an accommodation plan.
Manager of Health Care
and participates in establishing, reviewing, and implementing
school health policies and procedures in cooperation with school
personnel and community resources.
- Serves as liaison between the school and the local service agencies (public health, social services, mental health).
plans, and evaluates the nursing services component of the school
health program and effects needed changes.
that policies and procedures adhere to legal and regulatory
statute and ethical standards of nursing practice.
the necessary services for the chronically ill students in each
school and serves as a resource of teachers with students with
chronic illness (i.e. diabetes, asthma, life threatening allergy,
seizure disorder, anemia, etc. )
school health services including health screening and immunization
review for each school served and prepares reports as needed and
with the Director of Programs for Exceptional Children for health
services (i.e. medical/nursing) in the schools for children with
special health care needs.
- Provides assistance to principals and teachers in the maintenance of up-to-date health records and their proper use.
as leader in the schools for communicable disease control to limit
or eliminate the threat of any communicable disease-affecting
students and staff.
- Participates in development and implementation of the school’s emergency care plan.
- Ensures confidentiality of the health records in the school
Significant Student Health Concerns
School nurses monitor students with serious health concerns. This is to
assure the necessary health care services are secured. School nurse
prioritizes services based on the severity of the illness or condition.
High priorities include students who are involved in a DSS neglect case,
students whose health may be seriously impaired if left untreated,
students who may have a contagious illness or students whose academic
success is being impacted by their illness.
of teacher training by the nurse include: Diabetic Care Managers at
each school are trained to provide or oversee the care of any diabetic
students; staff are taught to recognize allergic reactions and to give
Epi-pen shots when prescribed; seizure management; and other safety or
illness specific training.
Medication Administration Consultation
The school nurse offers medication administration training to school
personnel annually. It is recommended that each school designate two
school staff to administer medications with possibly two additional
staff trained to act as their back up. The nurse reviews the medication
records for each school and gives recommendations to improve safety and