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School nursing is a specialized practice of professional nursing that advances the well- being, academic success, and lifelong 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.
The role of the school nurse encompasses both health and educational goals.5–7 Students today may face family crises, homelessness, immigration, poverty, and violence, which increase both their physical and mental health needs. School nurses perform a critical role within the school health program by addressing the major health problems experienced by children. This role includes providing preventive and screening services, health education and assistance with decision-making about health, and immunization against preventable diseases. In addition, school nurses may provide interventions for acute and chronic illness, injuries and emergencies, communicable diseases, obesity, substance use and abuse, adolescent pregnancy, mental health, dental disease, nutrition, and sexually transmitted infections.8–13 School nurses need to be physically present in schools to address these responsibilities appropriately. Improved student outcomes result where schools have a full-time school nurse.3
The National Association of School Nurses identifies 7 core roles that the school nurse fulfills to foster child and adolescent health and educational success.13 The roles are overarching and are applicable to school nurses at all levels of practice, in all geographic settings, and with all clients.
- The school nurse provides direct care to students.
- The school nurse provides leadership for the provision of health services.
- The school nurse provides screening and referral for health conditions.
- The school nurse promotes a healthy school environment.
- The school nurse promotes health.
- The school nurse serves in a leadership role for health policies and programs.
- The school nurse is a liaison between school personnel, family, health care professionals, and the community.
Source: National Association of School Nurses
School Nurse Program Courses
NURS 414 Foundations and Principles of School Health Nursing(Online), 3 semester hours. Spring Semester Only. This course is offered online and designed for the professional registered nurse specializing in school health nursing. Unique skills and knowledge necessary for the school nurse to perform in public schools (K-12) are presented. Students focus on the understanding of student services and programs, the professional role of the school nurse, and the functions of schools in the community. Course concepts include: case management; collaboration; chronic illness and family impact; assessment; growth and development theories; legal aspects, including delegation and the Nurse Practice Act.
NURS 416 School Health Nursing Practicum 3 semester hours. Spring Semester Only.(May be completed in student's home county.) This practicum course enables the student to apply information learned in Foundations and Principles of School Health Nursing. In caring for students in the public schools (K-12), the nursing student will employ skills, knowledge, and national standards and guidelines to develop and implement school health programs. Students will be engaged in school health needs assessments, screening and counseling, examining community resources, and reviewing and developing plans for school age youth.
Eligibility and Endorsement (Must have valid RN License)
These elective courses may be taken by BSN registered nurses and senior BSN students. Registered nurses who have a BSN, successful completion of the school health nursing courses, and pass the PPST (Pre-Professional Skills Test) may apply to the West Virginia Department of Education for endorsement as a school nurse. The School Nurse program is approved by the West Virginia Department of Education.
If a student is not a current BSC BSN student or is not under contract with a WV County School Board as a substitute or contract school nurse, then the student must enroll in certifiedbackgroundcheck.com in order to participate in the BSN School Nurse Program.
These courses can be taken as a "Special Student" by calling the School of Nursing and Allied Health at 304-327-4136 in late November/early December of each year.