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Nursing at the elementary-school level has been a career choice since the start of the 20th century when the first public school nurses were employed in New York City. The school nurse’s day can be an ever-changing blend of time spent checking for head lice, dispensing daily medications, reassuring anxious children with stomach complaints, supporting healthy food and exercise choices and helping ensure a safe and productive learning environment for teachers. Unlike jobs in a hospital setting, school nursing can be isolating – all the more reason for the school nurse to seek out resources for ideas and support.
The National Association of School Nurses publishes the "Journal of School Nursing" and "NASN School Nurse." The group also has online discussion groups for members, including one just for nurses at the elementary level. The National Assembly on School-Based Health Care is an advocacy group that offers scholarly publications and a quality improvement plan for nursing in schools.
One of the challenges -- and joys -- of being a nurse at the elementary level is creating simple but interesting displays, bulletin boards and educational presentations that small children can appreciate and learn from. Bulletin board and other display ideas can be found on Gerri Harvey’s School Nurse Perspectives website. The My School Nurse site offers teaching suggestions, lesson plans and links to specialty sites on subjects such as asthma and flu prevention. School Nurse publishes the monthly "School Health Alert" newsletter and offers up-to-date news on the profession.
Schoolkids' Health Care, an online catalog, offers a variety of products from training mannequins to bulk-rate alcohol swabs and an informational blog. School Health is another major supplier of educational and medical products for school nurses.
Support and Online Chat
Whether to keep up to date or just to talk and listen to others with similar stories and complaints, online chat is active for school nurses. The website All Nurses is a lively forum for discussion among school nurses with thousands of users actively participating. Gerri Harvey's "School Nurse Perspectives," also available online, is a folksy blend of advice, tips and inspirational quotes, along with many links to information about everything from grief support to electronic records management.
- nurse chris image by John Keith from Fotolia.com