Role of the school nurseGoing to school there is always the kind lady in the front office that is the school nurse. What is her role is health care? How does the school nurse fit into the healthcare system? The following will explain their role and how it benefits our children.


The role of the school nurse originated on October 1, 1902. The original idea behind having a school nurse was to keep children in school. If a student was sick they would go to the nurse first to determine if there was an illness that required the child to leave school. The nurse would also communicate all the information with the child’s parents and ultimately let them decide if the child was to stay in school or not but the nurse would render their opinion on the matter to the parents. This helps to reduce the number of students leaving school with a “tummy ache” simply because they didn’t study for the test in seventh period.

According to the National Association of School Nurses Board of Directors the definition of school nursing is as follows: A specialized practice of professional nursing that advances the well-being, academic success, and life-long achievement of students. To that end, school nurses facilitate positive student responses to normal development; promote health and safety; intervene with actual and potential health problems; provide case management services; and actively collaborate with others to build student and family capacity for adaptation, self management, self advocacy, and learning.

Roles of the School Nurse as Defined by the National Association of School Nurses

The National Association of School Nurses has high standards for school nurses. They have seven defined roles.

  1. The school nurse provides direct health care to students and staff. This means they provide care for injured and ill students and staff. They communicate with parents, make treatment plans, make referrals to physicians, and come up with emergency action plans. The school nurse is solely responsible to administer medication on site as well.
  2. The school nurse provides leadership for the provision of health services. This means that the nurse looks at the school environment and makes a plan to ensure the health needs of the individuals on the campus are being met. This is especially important in the instance of an emergency or a crisis.
  3. The school nurse provides screening and referral for health conditions. This means that if there are health problems that can get in the way of learning the nurse may provide screenings for those conditions to assist parents and students. Some screening examples may include vision, posture, BMI and things of this nature. If a problem is found then the parent would be notified and a referral to a physician would be rendered.
  4. The school nurse promotes a healthy school environment. This means the school nurse makes sure immunizations are current for all students. They take action to reduce the risk of blood borne pathogens. They monitor playground, indoor air quality, patterns of illness, patterns of injury, and try to determine where there is a source of concern. They also take action on emotional issues to avoid bullying incidents and school yard violence because this hurts mental health.
  5. The school nurse promotes health. This means the nurse provides health education to individual students, classes or to staff.
  6. The school nurse serves in a leadership role for health policies and programs. The school nurse is in a leadership role for developing health policies for the school. They promote nursing as a career. They serve as a role model for the student body.
  7. The school nurse serves as liaison between school personnel, family, community, and health care providers. This means the nurse keeps the lines of communication open between all parties.

Do these seven principles sound like something that would be an exciting career to you? The first step is to begin your education to become a nurse. Nursing education can be done at a career college or online. There are many schools that offer nursing courses to choose from.