Sunday, September 19, 2021

Supporting and Promoting School Nurses

Healthy Children Learn Better,

School Nurses Make It Happen!

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Helpful School Nurse Tip: Nurses have been working in schools for over a century! And although there have been many changes since then, the goal remains the same. The goal is to keep children in school through health promotion, education, and disease prevention. Remember- Students must be healthy to be educated and educated to be healthy. 

What is school nursing?

School nursing as defined by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) is “a specialized practice of nursing, protects and promotes student health, facilitates optimal development, and advances academic success. School nurses, grounded in ethical and evidence-based practice, are the leaders who bridge health care and education, provide care coordination, advocate for quality student-centered care, and collaborate to design systems that allow individuals and communities to develop their full potential.” (Adopted by the NASN Board of Directors February 2017) The vision is that “all students are healthy, safe, and ready to learn” and their mission is to “optimize student health and learning”. It is a big undertaking, but with adequate staff and a team collaboration it is possible. Keeping this definition, mission, and vision it is clear to see why school nurses are needed in schools!

Why are school nurses needed?

Healthy Children Learn Better, School Nurses Make It Happen


Most school nurses have heard the above phrase before and I'm not 100% certain who said it first, so it is difficult to give credit. However, it seems true, right? Healthy children learn better and school nurses make it happen. I bet you're not surprised that over 98% of US children attend school (National Center for Education Statistics, 2019). However, you might be surprised to know that 40% of those children have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition (CDC, 2019).  Having a school nurse on campus can help those children attend school safely while remaining in the least restrictive school environment.



Compilation of Some Common Physician Verified Student Health Diagnoses

This chart is just a partial list- Add diagnoses you have dealt with in the school setting in the comment section below. The severity of each health condition is specific to each child. So, the responsibilities and duties of school nurses changes from one semester to the next and one school year to another school year. Regardless, school nurses must be prepared to care for students with mild health conditions to severe, life threatening health conditions (not to mention health emergencies in the school setting too).

Attention Deficit Disorder

Allergies

Anxiety

Asthma

Bleeding Disorders

Brain Defects

Celiac Disease

Cerebral Palsy with Partial Limb Paralysis

Diabetes- Type 1

Gastrointestinal Issues

Gilbert’s Syndrome

Hurler Syndrome

Headaches/Migraines

Autoimmune Hepatitis

Hypothyroidism

Heart Conditions

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Scoliosis

Seizure Disorders

Vision Impairments-

partial and total blindness


How many nurses are employed by your school district?

How many students are at your school?  How many schools do you cover? 

These are very common questions among school nurses and the answers seem to vary greatly! Using the recommended ratio provided by NASN- is your school overstaffed, understaffed, or perfectly staffed?  Please use the comment section to leave your answer and let us know if you're surprised by your answer?  If you feel as though your school and/or school district is understaffed then come up with a plan of action on how you can promote school nursing positions and advocate for more nursing staff within the schools of your school district.  Keep in mind that the number of nurses needed could change from school year to school year depending on the required health needs of your students.


Having a full-time nurse in every school building is a recommendation by the National Association of School Nurses AND the American Academy of Pediatrics (link in the resource section below). School nurses are capable of caring for student health needs while at school. In addition, (when time allows) school nurses can: 
  • Become certified to screen vision and hearing 
  • Conduct drug testing for your high school athletic department
  • Teach coaches & other staff/students basic first aid and CPR skills
  • Support the monthly AED checks
  • Provide health education lessons and demonstrations in classrooms
  • Complete health reviews as part of the Special Education IEP team
  • Collaborate with community professionals to host school wide immunization clinics, physical exams, and dental exams and restorative dental treatment

Benefits of Hiring a Full Time School Nurse

There are countless benefits to hiring a school nurse for every school. Let's list 5 here that were pointed out by the CDC in their School Nurses Help Keep Students Healthy article:
  1. School Nurses can actually save a school district money!
  2. School Nurses may be the first health provider to identify a chronic health condition in a student.
  3. School Nurses can help students manage their chronic health conditions.
  4. School Nurses help protect the health and safety of both students and staff.
  5. School Nurses play an important role during public health crises.
Some people might find it hard to believe that hiring a school nurse could actually save their community money, but it's true. Wang et al (2014) utilized standard cost-benefit analysis methods to estimate the costs and benefits of an essential health services program compared with a scenario involving no school nursing services. They found for every dollar invested in full-time registered nurses, there was a gain of $2.20 for the society. This gain occurred because school nurses and the services they are able to provide offer a "benefit to schools, families, the health care system, and the community at large through increased student attendance, improved teacher and worker productivity, and reduced health care costs." Wang et al (2014)


PS- As you can see, the Wang et al study was completed in 2014- it would be very interested for someone to replicate this study for 2022 and compare the results! Who is looking for a research project?

PSS- Not touched on in this post is Medicaid Reimbursement for schools when nurses perform medication administration and other required and/or prescribed nursing services for students with IEPs who qualify for billing and reimbursement. I will save that detailed topic for it's very own blog post!


                             


School Nurse Resources

CDC, 2020
CDC Healthy Schools, 2021
Illinois State Board of Education, 2014
NASN, 2015
National Center for Education Statistics, 2019
Wang et al (2014)







 

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

School Nurse Supply Lists

 Suggested School Nurse Supply Lists

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Helpful School Nurse Tips:  Having the proper school nurse supplies and school nurse assessment tools for your job actually can make your job easier! The proper health center supplies will add to the functionality of your school nurse office. Check out the nurse's office supply lists below that were you created with the school nurse in mind. 




Online Shopping for School Nurse Office Supply Items

Having the right school nurse supplies and assessment tools can make your job easier and your office more functional. Check out the detailed supply lists for online shopping, digital resources, resource books, medication supplies, PPE, Type 1 Diabetes management, basic first aid supplies, and emergency items to streamline your workflow and enhance your preparedness.

Does your school district have a business account with Amazon? Mine does, and I love it! I order most of my school nurse office supplies from Amazon because the prices are reasonable and the shipping is FAST. On average, items arrive within three days—sometimes in just one or two days. This is great because I can order last-minute items, receive them quickly, and have time to use them before they expire.  View all of The School Nurse's shopping idea lists today.

Why reinvent the wheel? This Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) storefront is packed with digital resources specifically designed for school nurses. Most items are editable and integrate seamlessly with Google Drive. Many school districts permit staff to buy from TpT, so check if you can purchase these valuable school nurse resources without using personal funds. There are many FREE items in The School Nurse TpT store too- take a look.


SCHOOL NURSE RESOURCE BOOKS

I love the convenience of online searches, but I also really appreciate a great resource book that I can hold in my hands. Can you relate? For school nurses, having a reliable book to reference can make a big difference in our daily routines. Whether it's a quick guide, a detailed health assessment manual, or an emergency care handbook, these tangible resources are so valuable. Check out this curated list of essential school nurse books that will help you stay on top of the latest nursing protocols and procedures.  If so, check out this list of school nurse resource books.

MEDICATION SUPPLIES

Before the pandemic, I averaged around thirty scheduled medications administered during the school day. However, throughout the pandemic, this number has significantly decreased due to various factors such as remote learning and reduced in-person attendance. Despite the drop, I always need to be prepared for the numbers to rise again as students return to regular school schedules. Ensuring that I have a well-stocked medication supply, proper documentation, and an organized administration system is crucial. It's essential to stay ready to meet the needs of students and handle any potential increase in medication administration efficiently. Check out this idea list full of useful supplies related to medications at school.  

Also, if you train any unlicensed staff to administer medication you might be interested in this- It's a free PDF guide- it's here to help. It serves as a reference that you can customize to fit your specific school and district needs. Feel free to add personalized notes and details to tailor the presentation to your audience.

Presentation Sections Include:

  • Policy & Procedures
  • Forms
  • Medications
  • Inventory
  • Storage
  • Administration
  • Documentation
  • Resources & References


TYPE 1 DIABETES

This school year (2021 - 2022), 10% of my student population has a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. The majority of these students function completely independently and usually have all of their needed supplies. I might only see them if they need help with a site change, to treat a low, or a random high. Even though those students are self sufficient, the office needs to be prepared to step in when needed and have the proper supplies to meet the doctor orders listed in the Diabetes Medical Management Plans

In order to help make sure we have what they need, I keep many of the items listed in the Diabetes Idea List for School Nurses in stock in the school health center / school nurse's office. Do you too?


BASIC FIRST AID SUPPLIES

Are you even a school nurse if you don't have a favorite bandaid, thermometer, or way to make an ice pack?  Your state and your school district will determine exactly what type of first aid care you can offer your students.  You want to always protect your nursing license and make sure you are practicing within your scope and offering appropriate services. In most settings supplying a bandaid, checking a temperature, and offering an ice pack are within your scope.




Are you ready for a health emergency at school? As school nurses, we've got to be prepared for anything, anytime. Whether it's a student, staff member, or even a visitor, emergencies can pop up unexpectedly. If you're a school nurse, you've probably been there when someone needed urgent help, and if not yet, you will be—it's just part of the job. That's why having the right emergency response training, stocking up on essential first aid supplies, and having clear protocols in place are absolute musts. Explore our complete guide on school nurse emergency preparedness to make sure you're all set to handle whatever comes your way.

View DOASN blog posts related to my emergency response bag / box!






Check out these other popular DOASN blog posts & links:









Sunday, September 5, 2021

How The School Nurse Tracks All Things COVID

 

All Things COVID For The School Nurse

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Helpful School Nurse Tip: COVID responsibilities have added another job to our already full time job, right? Use these Google items to help you stay as organized as possible.


COVID-19 Tracking Sheet

Welcome to the very first COVID-19 digital product The School Nurse created back in the fall of 2020. I needed something easy and editable to use that I could track student attendance, staff attendance, create a weekly report, etc. I also wanted something that could easily be shared with the other nurse at my school and those who "needed to know" in case I wasn't able to be at work for whatever reason.  


This Teachers Pay Teachers product is what I created and continue to use this school year. hey are 100% editable, so you can customize them specific to your school/s and your needs. Currently, the top row of each sheet is "frozen", so it will be visible whether you have 10 entries or 510 entries!  These COVID Google sheets keep me organized and provide an easy way to access all the COVID information I need on a daily basis.  I think they would help you too! You can create your own, or purchase these and edit them to meet your needs.

 

Tabs Include:

  1. Student Attendance Sheet
  2. Staff Attendance Sheet
  3. Weekly Report
  4. No Mask / Alternative Diagnosis Sheet
  5. LHD Notification Sheet

To help you get started, I created this informational video. Keep in mind I'm not a videographer. You will hear beautiful windchimes in the background but also some hopefully, helpful information about using this product and making your school nurse days a little easier!  Also, in this video you will hear me refer to using "email notifications"!... Keep reading below to learn more about that useful tool!




 



The sample wording in this product is based on Illinois guidelines from October 2020. Great news though- this product is 100% editable! So, you can update the wording based on the current guidelines your school is using today!  

The main purpose of the FREE product is to teach other school nurses how to use Google EMail Templates!  I've implemented the use of email templates for any email situation I can- they are a huge time saver and provide consistency when communicating with others on the same topic. I hope using them helps you too and remember my disclaimer about not being a professional video maker- enjoy the content ...



Includes Sample Notification Wording For:
1. Close Contact- free
2. Positive Test Results
3. Waiting on Test Results
4. Household Member with Symptom
5. Student with Any Symptom

Using EMail templates is a must have if you are a school nurse trying to save time but yet provide a consistent message with those you are in contact with related to the COVID issues above. 

These 5 sample wording options are
100% editable- the wording is a suggestion I used when I originally created them in October of 2020. Since then, I've updated my own based on the guidelines my school is following. You can edit and update these samples to be specific to your school's COVID-19 guidelines. 
 
This wording bundle comes with a How-To video (shown above), but you can also view the training video on YouTube here:  https://youtu.be/srXXOOi4RZs?si=ZApD0dUJybRMnCqn


   



Great for coaches and/or other athletic department staff to use as a symptom checker for athletes!


This product is an editable Google Slide. It is easy to use via print or shared access of Google drive.


Best of all- this COVID-19 Athlete Monitoring product is FREE.








COVID - Athlete Return To Play Progression Form  Many state sport associations are requiring athletes have a medical release post COVID-19 diagnosis and recovery and prior to their return to participation in sports. 

Is this a requirement in your state?  If so, use this Google Doc as the form student athletes use to provide their medical release and/or Stage of Return to Play Progression prior to their return to sports. 

The Google doc is 100% editable which allows you and your athletic department or athletic trainer to customize it to your specific needs and requirements. 

Help you student athletes return to their sports as soon and as safely as possible.



SCHOOL NURSE STRONG
Organize your desktop today and thank yourself tomorrow with this "School Nurse Strong" 1920 x 1080 computer wallpaper.  You can even purchase coordinating School Nurse Strong items in this Zazzle storefront!



School Nurse Strong


Purchase The COVID-19 Bundle Purchase all of the above plus the bonus (Return To School Email Template Wording) for a discounted price!  COVID BUNDLE LINK





She Wanted To Change The World : School Nurse