School nurses serve the students and staff at each school and every school program in the Vancouver Public Schools. Your school nurse has the following qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree in nursing and, in some cases, a master’s degree in nursing as well
- Licensure as a registered nurse in Washington state
- Certification from the Office of the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction
- Additional postgraduate course work including, but not limited to, school health, crisis intervention, health counseling, child development and health curriculum and drug/alcohol issues
The role of school nursing has changed throughout the years. While the perception may be that the school nurse simply treats cuts, scrapes and bruises, reality is the role of school nursing is much more in-depth. The school nurse:
- Provides skilled emergency care to students and staff.
- Serves as a resource to staff as they provide urgent care to students.
- Supervises the administration of prescribed medications to students.
- Provides case management for students with health conditions including, but not limited to, asthma, diabetes, seizures, anaphylaxis allergies and mental health needs. (Case management includes collaboration with parents, health care providers and school staff to create and implement health/emergency plans. These plans address health-related barriers which may impact student learning.)
- Provides direct care to our nonindependent diabetic students, which may include blood glucose monitoring, insulin dosage determination and insulin administration.
- Educates and supervises staff on how to properly care for students with health care needs. These health conditions may have an impact on the student’s learning.
- Monitors communicable diseases in our community, such as the flu or pertussis, in collaboration with the Clark County Health Department.
- Monitors state-required immunizations of our students and connects families with community resources to meet their immunization needs.
- Refers families to health care providers for chronic or urgent health care needs.
- Provides resources to families needing assistance in accessing health care insurance.
- Counsels students and their families to make healthy lifestyle choices.
- Helps students develop personal strategies to address current health concerns and attain educational success.
- Coordinates and provides state-required vision and hearing screenings (for students in kindergarten through third grade or fifth through seventh grade and for any other student with a vision and/or hearing concern). Parents are notified if their student does not pass the screening, and community resources are provided, if needed.
- Serves as a resource to members of the special education team, interpreting medical data and recommending modifications to the individualized education plan to meet the student’s health needs.
- Helps in crisis situations such as substance, child abuse, suicide concerns, stress/anxiety reactions and eating disorders.
- Collaborates with the school team to promote a safe environment for students and staff.
- Supports nutritional and clothing needs, with the assistance of school and community resources.
- Works with student attendance teams.
School nurses promote the health of every child in order to raise educational achievement. Health and learning go hand-in-hand, as an unhealthy child may have difficulty learning, an undernourished child cannot concentrate well and medical problems interfere with a child’s ability to learn.