School nurses provide health care and health advocacy to public schools. The monthly--as well as daily and weekly--duties of a school nurse vary, and cover a wide range of student needs. School nurses screen for health problems, educate the school community, promote a healthy school environment, and provide medical assistance when needed.
One of the most important duties of a school nurse is to administer routine health screenings for students. Many families are financially unable to provide adequate health care for their children, and so these routine screenings ensure that children are healthy and developing properly. Screenings test vision and hearing, as well as Body Mass Index. These screenings also check for scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine). If If these test results indicate a problem, the school nurse acts as a liaison between students, families, and health care providers to guarantee that the student receives the proper care.
Another important role of the school nurse is to promote and ensure a healthy school environment. This is achieved by keeping detailed records of immunizations, as well as proper documentation on all communicable diseases. In addition, school nurses provide education and leadership regarding the proper handling of blood and other fluids.
In addition to maintaining the physical health of students, the school nurse monitors their emotional health, too. The school nurse watches for signs of depression and anxiety, as well as indications of bullying and violence.
Another vital role of the school nurse is to provide health education to students and school personnel. The school nurse should advocate a healthy lifestyle, focusing on diet, exercise, and substance-abuse education.
The school nurse is best known as a health care provider, offering medical assistance for a variety of needs, from caring for bumps and bruises to administering medication and monitoring the dietary needs of diabetic students.