Editor’s Note: Wednesday, May 10th is National School Nurses Day. Please share this excellent article that we found on the National Association of School Nurses website.
[Source: AFT.org via NASN]
By Erin D. Maughan
The number of students with chronic and complex health conditions significantly affects a teacher’s ability to teach and meet the needs of the whole child—especially combined with the impact of societal issues such as poverty, violence, and the growing population of families who speak a language other than English at home. Education in America is free, but healthcare is not. This fact presents a unique divide among schools and even within classrooms, where some students have parents who have good healthcare coverage and seek medical attention regularly, while others come from families who are limited to emergency room visits for chronic illnesses or only see a healthcare professional in life-threatening situations.
School nurses can help bridge this divide. Often, they are the only healthcare professional that students see regularly. So when a class includes Paul (who has missed multiple days of school, seems distracted when he does attend, and often has a deep, penetrating cough), Keisha (who stays in her seat during class but always seems drowsy), Aidan (whose disruptive behavior makes instruction difficult), and Anni (who is struggling to learn English), the school nurse should be one of the first resources their teacher turns to.