Thursday, July 29, 2021


Back To School : FREE Epi Pens

+ this post contains affiliate links +

Helpful School Nurse Tip:  Allergy reactions can occur at any time to any thing. Allergy reactions can escalate with each exposure. Are you prepared to respond? Does your school have undesignated epinephrine available to use in an emergency allergy situation?


If you've been reading this blog for a while then you already know that Mylan Pharmaceuticals  & BioRidge Pharma offer 2 two packs of  FREE epi pens, replenishment epi-pens, and epi-pen trainers to qualifying schools each calendar year! I've been taking advantage of this program for many, many years and saving my school districts many, many dollars too! 

To say this is a wonderful and valuable service is an understatement. 

This is a potentially LIFE SAVING offer they continue to provide for FREE!

As with most undesignated prescription medication offers, there is required paperwork, but it is very self explanatory and easy to complete.  FYI- you will need to have your school district physician or a local physician willing to sign an order or provide a standing order.  

Having epinephrine at each school could literally save the life of a student, staff member, or visitor.  You can read all about their program & apply for your free doses HERE.  

I'm curious if there are any school nurses reading this post who have needed to use one of the free epi-pens at some point throughout a school year?  If so, please comment so the rest of us can learn from your experience. 

I'm also curious if there are any school nurses reading this post who live in a state with undesignated emergency medication laws who also have a state health department who provides the physician orders for those medications?  If so, please comment your state.   


You will also want to spend some time thinking about how you will educate your staff members and maybe even the other students in your school.  The following is a list of questions that you should have answers to... these questions might even help you think of more questions that you'll need answers to.
  1. Who needs to know how and when to use an epi-pen.
  2. How will those people be taught signs/symptoms and medication administration techniques?
  3. Does your school district require a medication form or action plan?
  4. Who needs to know which students have potentially life threatening allergies?
  5. How are students with severe allergies identified? 
  6. Do students have permission to carry their own emergency medications?
  7. How will you gather more information from the parents? View this easy to use & editable digital Health History form HERE.
  8. ... and many more questions depending on your school/s and school district


I mainly rely on email and Skyward to make sure those who "need to know", know. I always invite staff to stop by my office, call, or email with specific questions they might have too.  Teacher Tips digital cards are how I notify teachers and this is my how to guide- if it works for you that is great, if not then just take the pieces that work and switch up the rest.


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.


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 digital 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.  How you wonder? Follow these steps:

  1. Open the student screen within the Health tab of the Skyward Student Management System
  2. Select IHP
  3. Then “Add File”
  4. 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)
  5. 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!)

The Teachers Pay Teachers items discussed in this blog post are items I actual use- 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!


Check out The School Nurse storefront idea lists HERE.


       HEALTH CONCERN LABELS                     SEVERE ALLERGY                         ASTHMA by The School Nurse


Thursday, July 15, 2021


The School Nurse's Supply Lists

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Helpful School Nurse Tip: Understanding your office budget and figuring out what supplies to purchase is always a challenge. Hopefully these suggestions helps you decide what items you need v. what items you want.


When you think about stocking your school nurse office, general office supplies might not make your first list. However, having the right office supplies to keep all of yourself organized throughout the year will actually save you time throughout the school year. You'll be amazed at the amount of paperwork and piles that go along with the paperwork! Try to come up with an office organization system that works for you. If what you're doing isn't working then give yourself permission to change and try something new until you find a system that works. 

Are you wondering what my #1 recommended general office supply is? It is the DOCUMENT SORTER!  I first shared this time saver on my Instagram account in 2019, but I had been using the device for many years prior. I purchased this one with my own money years ago and use it daily. I organized papers that I've reviewed and are ready to be filed by last name. This provides easy access to locate a paper if I need it again before I have time to actually file. This happens and before I had this document sorter I would have to thumb through stacks and stack of papers trying to find what I was looking for- can you related?  With this document sorter my "let me find that" time decreases- a lot!

Some school nurses have more than one of these time saving devices. You can sort by grade level, teacher, item (school physical, sports physical, emergency action plans, etc). Whatever works for you. The possibilities are endless. 

Purchase your very own document sorter time saver HERE.  

View other general office supplies HERE and HERE.


What first aid supplies should you keep in your office?  This is such a hard question to answer because it varies from state to state and from school to school.  As the school nurse, you'll want to make sure you are practicing within your scope. You'll want to find out if your school district has physician standing orders for you to follow. You'll want to read up on your school district's policies and procedures for various health scenarios. Once you have all of those questions answered, then you'll know what sort of first aid supplies are appropriate for your school nurse's office. 

You can view some basic ideas here, but again- you'll want to make sure you know what you are allowed to use and what you are not allowed to use in your specific school.

                                          Power of a Peppermint


Should I check their blood pressure?  There may be times when you receive a doctor's order to check a blood pressure. There may be times when someone asks you to check their blood pressure. There may be an emergency when you want to check someone's blood pressure. Regardless of the situation; will you be prepared?  Do you have the proper size blood pressure cuffs to use and are they in good working order?  I personally purchased this one HERE and still use it!  I also have a large cuff available if needed; HERE.  This manual cuffs work great for me (coupled with my favorite stethoscope of course!). However, if there was an unlimited budget I would for sure order something similar to one of THESE! How about you?


Yes, school nurses use stethoscopes and I recommend having a good one too. My preference is Littmann. I appreciate how well the ear buds fit into my ears and how easily I can hear what I am listening to. What stethoscope is your preference?

Purchase the pictured Littmann stethoscope HERE and the colorful bracelets HERE.


Assessing temperatures was one of the top duties during the 2020 -2021 school year. During the pandemic this responsibility was not reserved for school nurses only, it was shared with school administration, classroom teachers, and other school personnel too. Prior to the pandemic my favorite thermometer was the oral Welch Allyn SureTemp found HERE. I found this product to be accurate and very easy to use and clean. During the pandemic though, everyone seemed to make the switch to touchless forehead type thermometers, the one I used can found HERE. This one seemed accurate, but I found myself following up with an oral temp if I wanted to verify. 


I'll keep this section short because it should come as no surprise that ice packs are a staple in any school nurse office! There are a variety of ice packs available for purchase or to DIY. I prefer a countertop ice maker in my office with baggies wrapped with a paper towel. What is your preference? Also, check out this other DOASN blog post all about ice packs HERE.


Medications! There is so much to say that I'm not sure where to start. Again, each school and school district might be a little different. First, know your nursing scope of practice within the state you are licensed and work in. Then, figure out your paperwork process for administering medications in the school setting. You can check out these digital resources on my Teachers Pay Teachers store HERE:

You'll also want to spend time defining a medication storage space in your office, spending time thinking about storage safety too. Also, do you have water available in your office for administration? Are there plenty of cups available too? These are all things to take into consideration when planning your office" medication station. Check out some traditional and unique storage supply options that might work in your office HERE.  In addition, here is a FREE training that might come in handy for you - it is editable too :)


Many states require the school provide period products to students for FREE. Is this a requirement in your state? In Illinois this is a requirement and you can read all about it HERE:  IL Public Act 100-0163  
I will link to several other articles with information you might find helpful:
  1. NEA Period Poverty Article
  2. P&G School Programs
  3. Article 
  4. FREE Teen Essentials Products- (please check availability) 

click to see how I got all of these supplies for FREE!


Besides period products, my school is lucky enough to never have to spend a penny on any sort of hygiene supply!  This luxury is made possible by the amazing volunteer group- Moms Who Care! If you have anyone in your community looking for a way to really make a difference then you should urge them to start their very own Moms Who Care in your school- you will not regret it. Contact them for more information :)

Thank you for reading! Stay safe & healthy!


Thursday, July 1, 2021

Student Health History Form

 Digital Student Health History Form

                                                         + this post contains affiliate links +

Helpful School Nurse Tip: Collecting yearly student health history updates is a great way to gather up-to-date health information from parents. You can use the data to calculate how many students have chronic and acute illnesses and you'll know which students need Individualized Healthcare Plans and other health related Action Plans.

I recently asked the above question to other school nurses on my Instagram stories & an astounding 85% thought they might be interested! So, I went ahead and created a simple Google health history collection form- check it out :)

What is included in a health history?


You might be wondering why a school nurse would need to spend time reviewing and renewing student health histories.  If you consider all of the students your potential "patients" then you know the value of having an up-to-date health history. Health histories provide a subjective (sometimes objective) way to get an overview of your student's health status. They provide you with answers and may lead to more questions to basic health questions any school nurse might have. Questions like:
  1. Does this student have any recent or past medical diagnoses that might impact their education or time at school?
  2. Does this student have any health diagnoses that require health accommodations during the school day?
  3. Does this student take any medications- at home or at school?
  4. Does this student require an emergency action plan?
A current health history can be a casual way to collect answers to the above questions and more too! The process can begin by asking parents for subjective information about their student's health status.  You can then follow up with the student's physician for more specific, objective information.

Student Health Services


There are several ways a school nurse can gather health history on their current students.

Previous School Health Records

A great place to start is by reviewing previous school health records. Although updated forms aren't required every school year, by reviewing these forms you'll get an snapshot of any previous health conditions. You might also be able to determine if the condition is an acute or chronic condition and if you need to spend more time gathering an update from the parents and physician.

In Person or Phone Call with Parent and/or Student

How many times has a parent called or a student stopped in your office to let you know of a new diagnosis? Or they casually mention an ongoing health condition that is causing them discomfort?
How any times during one of those drop in notifications have you been right in the middle of something else and not been able to give 100% of your attention to the conversation?  Most school nurses would say this happens often. 

students- If you find yourself in a situation with the student providing you a verbal health history then take good notes! Help the student at the  moment and return them to class if possible.  Then follow up with a parent phone call.

parents- If the parent calls and stops by to fill you in a previous, recurrent, or current health condition then take good notes. If they have doctor verification with them ask if you can make a copy for your records. Ask how this health condition might impact their child's school day and what health related accommodations they think their child might need to be successful. Try to end the conversation with the parent knowing that you will follow up with an email later in the day to review key points of your conversation. 

Emailing Parent and/or Student

Even after a phone call or in person conversation with a parent (or student depending on your school setting etc.); s ending a follow up email can be a great idea. This email provides you a chance to recap information from the conversation, review discussed accommodations, ask permission to share information with staff on a need to know basis, and ask any questions that you might have thought of since the conversation. In this email you can also provide a link to this Google form (or one you create). An email and/or Google form responses provide a paper trail for you for future (just in case).

Student Health Portals


Collecting health history information varies from school to school and from district to district.  Some suggestions include:
  1. School Registration Day/s
  2. New Student Registration
  3. Ongoing via School Website
  4. As needed via Email 


Having an accurate student health history is great- knowing what to do with that information is even better! Use this new knowledge to update other areas of your school nursing duties.

Digital Health Records-  Many schools use some sort of digital school management software; such as Skyward, SASI, PowerSchool etc. What program does your school us? If there is a way to incorporate health history information into your school management software system then I would recommend doing so. It might seems time consuming at the moment, but you will save time in the long run. 

Health Conditions Lists- Many moons ago, I used to create digital Health Concern lists- this was my only option. I would create a columned filled Excel spreadsheet and sort and organize as needed! Thankfully now, I can use my school's school management software to organize this same information! My experience is with the management system- Skyward. Skyward allows the ability to add  health concern information as a "Health Condition". Then, "Health Condition" reports can be created by grade level, graduation year, teacher, etc. These reports also provide an overall school summary including the number of students with each health condition. This information is very valuable for your end of the year (EOY) report for your school administration, school board, and/or supervisor.

Healthcare Plans- Use the gathered health history information to create healthcare plans. There are many FREE and paid examples of healthcare plans all over the Internet- just Google what you are looking for. Maybe you don't think you have enough time to create a healthcare plan for every student who might need one- that is OKAY! You can always create a generic plan to put in place for specific health conditions- asthma, seizures, food allergies etc. Then, you can decide which students need their own specific emergency action plans from their private physicians and use your time to encourage parents to provide those completed emergency plans to you.

Emergency Action Plans- Emergency Action Plans (EAP) are needed for students with known acute or chronic health conditions which have the potential to turn into a medical emergency while attending school or a school sponsored even and/or the health condition has the potential to negatively impact the student's learning process.  There are many free and paid examples available online- again, just search what you are looking for many examples should appear.

Medication Forms- Knowing what medications a student is prescribed is nice to know. This knowledge can help you see the "bigger" picture. Many times students only take medication at home, but sometimes at school too. If medication is needed during school hours, then most districts require a physician's order and sometimes even have a specific form that needs to be completed. You can view medication form examples HERE. If a specific medication is included on an EAP then a separate medication form is typically not required.

Procedure Forms- As you filter through your student health history forms, you might find that a student requires a nursing procedure completed during school hours. These procedures might consist of: dressing change, g-tube feed, suctioning, catheterization, etc. Just like a doctor's order is required to administer medications in the school setting, a doctor's order should be on file in order for the nurse to complete any sort of nursing procedure in the school setting. Years ago in Illinois there was a "yellow manual" full of nursing procedures that may need to be completed in the school setting. I don't remember who published the manual and I don't have it available at the moment, but I will update this blog post if I find it! In the meantime complete an Internet search and I'm certain many examples will be available.


If you're still reading this blog post- THANK YOU!  
Feel free to comment any questions, examples, situations 
that you think might help another school nurse or send me an email