In partnership with the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), the Network is developing a number of resources on the legal issues related to school nursing, such as ensuring access to school nursing services for all students, chronic absenteeism, data sharing, Medicaid reimbursement, and the role of school nurses in a variety of public health concerns affecting children and teens.
School nurses understand the complexities between physical and mental wellbeing and academic achievement, and can play a critical role in advancing child and adolescent health — including expanding access to care for many children. However, laws across the country do not yet recognize the importance of school nurses, and only one state requires a full-time registered nurse in every school.
Chronic absenteeism—or missing 10 percent or more of school days for any reason, excused or unexcused—is a proven early warning sign of academic risk. Attendance has serious implications for school performance; students who are chronically absent experience larger gaps in achievement at the elementary, middle, and high school levels and have higher likelihood of dropping out of school. The effects of chronic absenteeism extend into adulthood, affecting job security, socioeconomic status, and health outcomes, leading to a population that is less educated and less healthy. Now more than ever, school health providers, who work at the intersection of health and education, can play a critical role in reducing chronic absence.
The National Association of School Nurses has issued a position statement that the school nurse is an “essential member of the school health team to address student concussions.” This fact sheet outlines how, as a school-based healthcare professional, the school nurse is likely to be the school staff member with the most comprehensive knowledge of mild brain injury.
Registered professional school nurses are uniquely positioned at the intersection of student health and education; they are trained to understand the complexity of the relationship between physical and mental wellbeing and academic achievement. This survey details the services, by state, that school nurses are permitted to provide.