Principals, heads of school, and headmasters (moving forward I'll just use the term principal) don’t need to concern themselves with student health information, right? Wrong. They do because they should have oversight of everything that happens in the school and with students. Principals are responsible for setting the tone, vision, and expectations of their school. Part of that is establishing what is important, and the most important thing (despite what testing may convey), is the well-being of students. After that comes academic performance and all the other things that are, rightfully so, very important. But first and foremost is student well-being.
So how can a principal ensure that students are well cared for? How can he or she confirm that the nurse has all the right information to assess and treat? Are all allergies known? What about medications? Are there any outstanding chronic diseases or family illnesses to be aware of? What about emergency contacts?
All of that delicate and crucial information is located in a student's medical record. The accuracy of that information determines whether or not a nurse or doctor or emergency responder has complete knowledge of a student’s medical condition. It is vital to protecting the student and ensuring his or her well-being.
For this reason, schools must collect and manage student health information in the most efficient and thorough way possible. Complete health histories and vital information help providers improve care. Collecting and managing that information correctly helps reduce liability and cut costs. Having health information available when it's needed most ensures the best possible emergency preparedness and response.
And let's not forget academic performance, which can make or break a school. It’s what the public knows about a school, it may influence the way teachers are paid, it influences college selection decisions, and it plays fairly large into the decisions parents of private school students make. It’s no secret that healthy children have a better shot at academic success than those who are out sick, or spend more time in the clinic than in the classroom. So if managing health information correctly and making it available when needed contributes to student wellness, and that leads to academic success, shouldn't it be a top priority of any principal? Of course! If academic progress is to be perceived as the #1 objective outside the school walls, we should do everything possible on the inside to make that a reality.
Principals, heads of school, and headmasters should most certainly be concerned with health information because their students, their schools, and in turn, their jobs, all depend on it.