Sunday, June 13, 2021

School Nurse Summer To-Do List

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School Nurse Summer Checklist

Every school district is different, but many school nurses don't actually get "the entire summer off"- sad, but true. For instance, I am paid to work ten extra days during the summer.
Eight of those days are assigned and the other two I am able to schedule myself.  
Since last year was taken up by all things COVID-19, I am a little behind schedule.
There are a few state reports I need to finish and then I'll dive into 
the top ten list below. How does this list compare to your list? 

The list may seem specific, but hopefully it will help you organize 
your summer list. You can add and/or delete items to create 
something specific to you and your school/s.


  1. Contact Parents- Use the summertime to contact parents for updates on medications, health concerns, and needed action plans. I use Skylert or Skyward email and Google forms and/or hyperlinks to the Health Center portion of the school website.  How do you contact parents prior to the new school year?
  2. Summer Clinics- Each year I try to offer an onsite option for required school physical exams, sports exams, and MCV4- this year we hope to offer COVID vaccines too.  This is always a community collaboration with a local hospital and hopefully this year our LHD too. There are costs and paperwork for parents, but the hospital staff takes care of that. The parents appreciate the convenience factor and don't mind paying for onsite services.  Does your school or district offer any onsite healthcare clinics?
  3. Emergency Bag & Meds- Check expiration dates of the emergency medications kept at your school and order new as needed.  Also, check your emergency bag/box. Replenish items as needed, switch what didn't work and keep what did! What type of emergency bag do you have?  Are all of your items in working order, do you need to add/remove anything? Check out the changes I've made over the years to my emergency bag here: 
    1. Emergency Bag 2012 
    2. Emergency Bag 2020 
    3. Emergency Box 2021
  4. Incoming Charts- I work in a public high school setting. Upon entry, each student receives a "school health chart". I fill these charts with forms I receive from the "feeder schools". I take time to look over the information for any students with chronic health conditions and make a note for future use. Most of our immunizations are imported via a Skyward "dump". The remaining ones get manually entered prior to the beginning of the year (hopefully). How do you keep track of health forms for your individual students? The school health charts I use are created with a manila folder and a 5x8 index card- both with stickers including: 
    1. Last Name, First Name MI
    2. DOB
    3. Student ID # (read more about them here)
  5. Community Collaboration- My school is lucky enough to have a volunteer Moms Who Care group! Since I am the school liaison, I meet with them at least once over the summer to discuss our plans for the upcoming school year.  I also contact the local doctor who is willing to sign orders for our emergency meds and AEDs. Previous Moms Who Care posts HERE. Can you think of a community group that can help your students meet their needs?
  6. Staff  Meetings- Thankfully my school doesn't have summer staff meetings! However, there is one meeting I am usually asked to speak at. That is the "Coaches Meeting". I give a brief asthma and allergy overview along with a quick CPR update/review. The Athletic Trainer talks more specifics too. We also have the CPR manikins and AED trainer available for hands on practice. Do you have any summer meetings or staff trainings that you need to plan for? FREE Medication Training Slides
  7. AED Monthly Checklist Updates- Many school nurse duties have to be completed at a specific time throughout the school year. However, I have found that creating a new AED monthly checklist form during the summer works best for me. This is actually a duty that doesn't have to be completed by the school nurse. If you are struggling to complete everything then maybe ask about delegating this duty to another staff member. Are you in charge of monthly AED checks; if so, how do you document this duty?
  8. Student Data Collection- It is not enough to tell people (admin/school board) how busy you are. You need to show them too.  One simple way to do this is to collect basic data on the visits to the nurse's office. I've created a very basic and FREE Google form to help you get started. You can edit this form to add information you would like to keep track of. If you want to include specific teacher names, treatment options, or common complaints for easy selection then you can edit and add those to this form. Compile the results at the end of the year into a Google sheet and create an end-of-year report to share with your BOE; I do every year! How do you track and report your yearly data?
  9. Registration Day- Most schools offer some sort of registration day for students- either in person or online. Either way, there are always papers and plans that need to be reviewed, shared and filed. For in person registration, I prefer to have a print out of the state health requirements to reference and to share with parents if needed. I also have access to a computer and bring plastic bankers boxes to organize charts- those I need to review, those that can be filed, and those needing follow up of some sort. Is your registration online or in-person?  How and what do you need to prepare?
  10. Emails / Voicemails- Each summer I enable an automatic "out of office" email response. I still glance at my emails at least daily, but I do not respond to them unless emergent. Also, my office does not have voicemail- you read that correct- there is no voicemail option. I am certain I will have over two hundred emails- some junk, some information, and some that I will need to respond to or follow up in some way. Do you answer work emails over the summer months?
  11. ELEVEN- everything else- ha ha :)
I hope this helps you feel more prepared... What did I miss?  What else are you curious about?  Let me know and I will try to help.



Sunday, May 2, 2021

Happy National School Nurse Day 2021


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School Nurses, what a year!

I find it hard to put into written words how challenging being a school nurse 
over the last 12 plus months of been. 
How many of you feel the same way?
I hope you know how important your job is, has been, and will always be.

Happy National School Nurse Day!

Enjoy the FREE printable below.
Larger Imagine and Link to Download Below...

It's an revised poem I received years ago from a former coworker turned friend.
This would be the perfect gift for your favorite school nurse friend too and prints as a 5x7.
I think it would look pretty in any of these frames found on Amazon:

Download Here

Sign Up for FREE School Nurse Printables- usually sent monthly

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Student Health Requirements

School Health Requirements

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So you landed your dream job as a school nurse; now what? Well, one of the first “things” to do will be gathering and reviewing all of your students state required health forms. These forms are typically a physical exam, dental exam, and even an eye exam. Most are completed outside of school with a doctor licensed to practice medicine and then turned into the school nurse; but why? 


Well, since the late 1800s school nurses have been promoting health among students, their families, staff members, and their communities. Requesting, gathering, tracking student health records is one way school nurses help ensure students are healthy and ready to learn. Although this may seem like a daunting task; it is a task worth spending time on- after you know which students have ongoing health conditions and which ones take daily and/or as needed medications. 

Many school nurses, students, and parents have wondered and even asked WHY?  Why are these forms required?  Why do we need to turn them in to the school?  Why do you keep calling me about this?   Those are all great questions and the easy, short answer is because having student health requirements met not only protects each individual student, they also offer  protection to the entire student population.  

Since most children attend school, it makes sense that the schools (especially the school nurse) help the states track the compliance of these school health requirements.  Since I’ve only worked in Illinois as a school nurse, my specific examples will be based around Illinois. I know each state varies slightly with the requirements, but many are the same; you’ll have to search out specifics for your state.

Now what?  You need to find out what the state health requirements are for students enrolled at your school/s and come up with a plan to track compliance. For me, that means using a Google sheet that I’ve created in addition to running Skyward reports. I also keep my non-compliant health charts in a plastic banker’s box in my office so I have easy access. What does this mean for you? How will you keep track of all of your students?  Try something and if it works, great!  If it doesn’t work, then try something else, but keep trying until you find a system that works for you and your students. Pre-COVID I strived for 100% compliance every school year and made it!  Not the case this school year, but I am still trying to collect needed forms and will keep trying too :)

Also, think about how you will store individual student records? I use a hybrid combination of digital (Skyward) but mostly paper copies kept in manila folders. Each student has their own folder complete with a label which has last name, first name DOB and school ID #. I file the most current physical and immunizations in the front and all other forms behind.  Here are links to (similar) products I actually use to organize student health records: 

Hopefully this was a brief and easy to understand explanation. 


Feel free to email me specific questions that I can try to answer in a future post:


Illinois General Assembly (Full Article)

Illinois General Assembly Codes (Child Health Examination Code, 77 Ill. Adm. Code 665)

Illinois State Board of Education: Health Requirements

Each state has rules listing the minimum health requirements students must meet in order to attend school. Try searching your state + school health requirements to locate your specific state school health requirements.


2015 DOASN Lillian Wald Blog Post:

Complete List of Department of State Health Websites:

Lillian Wald - Henry Street Settlement

NASN School Health Documentation

NCSL State Vaccination Policies: Requirements and Exemptions for Entering School

Schools & Health: Our Nation's Investment

State School Nurse Associations

Friday, March 5, 2021

Health Information - Digital Teacher Tips Cards

 Teachers Pay Teachers for The School Nurse

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Are you familiar with the online marketplace Teachers Pay Teachers?

It is one of the most popular online educational resource stores!

Created for teachers, but it’s actually a great online resource for all those working inside of a school (IMO). There are thousands of affordable, thoughtful, and useful resources available literally with the click of a few buttons. Most are available for less than a cup of your favorite coffee, but many are also FREE and who doesn’t like FREE items, right?!  The School Nurse has many free items posted HERE.

Read more about the Teachers Pay Teachers marketplace HERE.

The School Nurse joined this educational resource marketplace in May of 2014. The goal was to share digital products with other school nurses. Products that would hopefully make their day-to-day routines a little easier and more consistent from student to student.  In the beginning, the majority of The School Nurse’s items were PDF but now the majority of Google drive- because that is what I use 99.9% of the time.  

The products listed for sale in The School Nurse TpT store  are products that I actually use in my school nurse practice.  Of course, I’ve edited out the specific school and/or student details, but the concept transfers between schools and usually states.  Worried, these products won’t work for you?  It is OK- the  buyer has the ability to edit and add information to make the product specific to their school and/or student needs.  What works for me, might just be a jumping point for you and just what you needed to get going or finish the next thing on your to-do list!

Click to View Store

Overview of Teacher Tips Digital Health Information Cards

Digital health information cards were one of the very first products created and posted for sale within The School Nurse TpT Store!.

Updated versions are listed for sale today AND they are now editable too!

Why Use Teacher Tips Digital Health Information Cards

As nurses, we often take our knowledge for granted and might even assume that others we work with understand or have a similar knowledge base regarding certain health conditions.

However, as school nurses, we are often viewed as the medical expert within the school setting.

One of the roles of a school nurse is to educate others we work with so they understand what they need to know about certain medical conditions. Does that make sense?

Teacher Tips cards provide an opportunity to educate others within the school on a specific health condition. These teacher tips give broad information on a health condition and invite school staff to ask you for specific details as needed. 

How To Use Teacher Tips Digital Health Information Cards

Way back when, I used to print information sheets and hand deliver them to teachers or put them inside their teacher mailbox; I’m dating myself, right?!  Now, I include these digital Teacher Tips Health Information Cards within the body of an email message to teachers and/or add them as an IHP attachment in Skyward for a specific student.

EMAIL:  Since the Teacher Tips cards offer broad information, I have the option of including more student specific details within the body of the email; information staff would need to know. I can also include a copy of the 504 Plan or ask teachers to reference the 504 Plan for even more specific information. 

SKYWARD: Use Skyward to your advantage! If you have access to the Skyward Health module then consider uploading the teacher tips cards within the Health tab of Skyward Student Management.  Once you have your student screen open select IHP, then “Add File”, enter a form description and then Choose the Teacher Tips file you want to attach ( download as a PDF from Google prior to attaching in Skyward) don’t stop there- Use the Comment box to add student specific information or more detailed information you want to the teacher to be aware of. This is an excellent communication tool and resource between you and the teachers.  Especially at the 6-8 or 9-12 grade levels when student schedules change mid year or without notice. Make sure you utilize the Health Condition tab in Skyward too (great information for another blog post!)

In closing, the items The School Nurse posts in her Teachers Pay Teachers storefront are actual items she uses- or very close variations of those items! These items are created and designed to offer consistency when working with multiple students and sometimes at multiple schools. Please comment if there is a specific health concern or school nursing task that you want to see digital items created for! As always, thank you for your support!

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