School Nurses: Advocates for 21st Century Student Health
National School Nurse Day, May 9, 2018, is a time to celebrate the specialty practice of school nursing. In 1972, the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) created National School Nurse Day to recognize school nurses and acknowledge their role in the educational setting. NASN applauds the contributions school nurses make every day to improve the safety, health, and academic success of all students.
The theme this year – School Nurses: Advocates for 21st Century Student Health – reinforces the Framework for 21st Century School Nursing Practice which helps direct school nurses to be in the forefront of promoting a culture of health in their communities. It is reflective of the significant roles school nurses have in the health care of their school communities to help make a healthier place for children and families to learn and grow.
“The school nurse voice is more powerful than most of us realize. It is when we help a teacher understand how to alter lesson plans so students with food anaphylaxis can participate in all learning activities. It is when we teach children healthy habits so they can grow and thrive,” said NASN President Nina Fekaris, MS, BSN, RN, NCSN. Adding, “A professional school nurse is needed in every school to care for every child because school nursing is the foundation for student health.”
NASN believes all teachers deserve to have school nurses in their buildings so that teachers can focus on instruction and students’ individual educational needs; and parents deserve to feel secure that children are safe at school and their health needs are met every day by specialized school nurses. School nurses have the skills to plan and implement care for students with chronic and medically complex conditions and prepare school staff to recognize and respond appropriately to potential emergencies. Prevention is key in school wellness and safety, but planned emergency response and disaster preparedness is an essential part of the important role school nurses play.
“It is a tremendous privilege to honor our nation’s school nurses as we celebrate National School Nurse Day,” said NASN Executive Director Donna Mazyck, MS, RN, NCSN. “School nurses influence wellness and disease prevention practices as change agents in schools and communities.”