If your school doesn’t have a nurse, you’re not alone. But you likely already knew that. According to a National Association of School Nurses (NASN) report, over 58% of U.S. schools do not have a full-time RN, and over 25% do not have a full-time OR part-time RN. With numbers like these, the reality is that untrained school administrators, teachers, and staff are being tasked with student healthcare. The problem with that is clear – they’re untrained. They’re unprepared to deal with high intensity health situations, unqualified to speak with students dealing with pregnancy or suicidal thoughts, and they’re losing time they should be able to allocate to teaching, lesson preparations, and professional development.
School budgets are tight, time is stretched thin, and without an RN, schools are forced to take a risk with student health. Who is responsible if an emergency health situation arises? Who is in charge of collecting, storing, and distributing student health information? Is your school using teachers and administrators, or volunteers, to handle this confidential information? Are they qualified to ensure the information is accurate, complete, and compliant with school, local, and state regulations? How are existing health conditions, including allergies, communicated to teachers?
These are all big questions schools have to face without a full-time RN. If the staff member in charge of caring for sick children is untrained, there’s a good chance they’re also untrained in reviewing student medical records, determining if further immunizations are required, ensuring asthma, food allergy, diabetes, or other action plans are complete, and communicating the pertinent information to teachers.
If teachers are unaware a student has an allergy or other health condition before the start of school, it’s next to impossible for them to be adequately prepared. As a former Wake County public school teacher said, “The parents would usually tell me during parent night if there were special circumstances, and within the first two weeks of school, the school nurse or counselor would forward me the student’s health files.”
So what happens during those first two weeks of school if the parent hasn’t alerted the teacher? It’s conceivable that the teacher, who may be responsible for emergency healthcare, doesn’t even know about a student’s health condition. Clearly, without an RN, schools are put in a difficult situation, and it’s essential to proactively find a solution that will minimize the risk to both schools and to students.
SMR allows schools to do that by providing the tools to collect, manage, and store health information in a secure environment, and share vital health information with all the stakeholders, all without the paper hassle. With an RN record review option, schools can employ Magnus RNs to review health records according to their school and state standards, and ensure that information is thorough and complete. Magnus911 and the vital health record modules deliver life-saving information around allergies, medications, existing conditions, action plans, and more to authorized personnel.
With SMR, schools without RNs still run the risk of students falling ill without proper care immediately accessible. But, with SMR, schools are also giving themselves the ability to react more quickly with emergency vital health information only a login away, ensuring that health information is complete and accurate, and minimizing the time non-healthcare provider personnel must spend on the health information collection process.