Why Every District Needs School Nursing Services

Written by Terri Brinston
July 13, 2023
Why every district needs school nursing services

As a young girl, I remember suffering from terrible anxiety. Back then I did not know what I was struggling with. I just knew it was scary. This overwhelming feeling would come over me. It would start gradually as my heart would start pounding in my chest. My heartbeat was so aggressive that I could hear it in my ears. It was so loud that I would look around to see if anyone else could hear it. My palms would start sweating and I felt this tightnesss in my throat, making it difficult for me to breathe. As I sat in my seat trying not to attract any attention to myself, I could feel a buildup of panic overtaking me. I remember taking my hand and covering my mouth to prevent myself from screaming in agony. It was horrible. Finally, my teacher would notice what must have been a terrifying demeanor and instructed me to go see the School Nurse.

There was something about our school nurse that instantly calmed me. Ma
ybe it was her gentle spirit or the way she knew what to do. I could always count on her being available when I needed her. She was like a mom away from home. She didn’t judge me or make me feel as if I wasn’t normal. She was someone who understood what I was going through without me having to explain.

Unfortunately, like me, many children and adolescents suffer from chronic health conditions today. They spend
 many hours in school and depend on trained school staff and a healthy school environment to help them manage their conditions. Based on a report produced by the CDC, about 25% of children in the United States aged 2 to 8 years have chronic health conditions such as asthma, obesity, other physical conditions, and behavior/learning problems. The healthcare needs of children with chronic illness can be complex and continuous and include both daily management and addressing potential emergencies. A school nurse is the only school faculty that is focused 100% of the time on the health and wellbeing of the students and staff. They not only make sure that the school complies with state and federal requirements, 
they also exceed the minimum expectations and promote best practices.

ata collected by the Michigan School Nurses Association (MASN) through a school superintendent survey in 2011 indicates that approximately only 27% of Michigan school districts have a school nurse available to students at
least part of the time. Although there is no statutory requirement for Michigan schools to employ a nurse
, Federal law requires schools to provide related nursing services by guaranteeing access to education and related services to assist children with disabilities who benefit from special education per 34 CFR Part 300 Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1997 (IDEA). Additionally, Section 504 of, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects the rights of children with special healthcare needs (CSHCN) by providing related services, including health services, to those not eligible for special education.

When a School Nurse is not available to provide health services to students, this respons
ibility is legally assigned by the school principal to other staff, usually office staff or other paraprofessionals. Some districts include health services delivery as a responsibility of teachers and/or secretaries. Although this responsibility can be delegated to school staff, proper training is required by a registered nurse. If a student requires a healthrelated service because, of an eligible health concern, the school should investigate the need for an Individualized Education Plan or a 504 Accommodation Plan and seek proper training for their staff.

A fulltime nurse would be the best choice for a school system, but with tight budgets, it can be a challenge. Many schools are turning to an outsourced qualified nursing service to provide them with:

● Health education, health resources, and wellness programs
State and federal compliance support

● Case management, health, and mental health services

● Consulting for health concerns
A link between healthcare providers, families, staff, and community agencies

Let MSN be your medical support provider

You May Also Like …

Benefits of MSN Fast

Benefits of MSN Fast

Why should you do business with us? I work hard for my money. Some may even say that I am a little frugal. I disagree of course. But yes I am prudent with my expenses. I am not saying that I am cheap. On the contrary, I have a good eye for quality, especially as it...

read more


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *