Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lillian Wald and The History of School Nursing

The beginning of school nursing

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Hopefully Helpful School Nurse Tip: Did you realize the idea of school nursing came about as an experiment?  Luckily for us, the experiment was greatly successful! Read on to learn more...

How did it become that a nurse was needed to work in the school setting so many years ago?

Lillian Wald's pioneering work in public health nursing laid the groundwork for the evolution of nursing practices in various settings, including schools. Through her establishment of the Henry Street Settlement and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Wald emphasized community-based care, preventive health measures, and a holistic approach to meeting the unique healthcare needs of underserved populations.

While her focus was more community health related, Wald's principles of health promotion, education, and the provision of care within the context of the community had a profound influence on the broader field of nursing; i.e. school nursing. As schools increasingly became recognized as vital community hubs, the principles Wald championed, such as addressing social determinants of health and advocating for the well-being of children, indirectly influenced the development of school nursing programs.

Her legacy in public health nursing continues to resonate in the ethos of school nursing, promoting a community-oriented, preventive care model that recognizes the interconnectedness of health within the school environment and the broader community.

the history of school nursing

School Nursing Started As An Experiment

In the late 1800s/early 1900s New York City allowed 
1 nurse to work with 8,671 students.

The goal was simple, right?
  • exclude students who needed to be excluded from school
  • provide follow up care with those students and their families 
  • enable those excluded students to return to school as soon as possible

That school year, the absenteeism rate decreased by 90%!

The experiment was so successful that New Year City hired 25 more nurses to work in their schools!

Although some of the needs students face today might be 
a little different than when Lillian Wald began the school nurse journey;
the goal is still the same-

Promoting health in the school setting so students are ready to learn!

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