Since 1972, National School Nurse Appreciation Day has become a day to celebrate school nurses for all that they do and to provide a better understanding of the role they play in students’ education. National School Nurse Day is celebrated during the National Nurse Appreciation Week, which this year was held on May 6th-12th.
A school nurse plays a vital part in student health and well-being. Studies show that healthy students are happier, more alert, and have better attendance records. Many students trust their nurses to treat them and to provide daily medical assistance during school hours, and for some, the nurse may be one of the only health care professionals they see.
A school nurse can be responsible for everything from student immunizations, health care screenings, hearing and vision tests, treating students with special conditions, preventing the spread of disease, emergency health situations, and helping students with mental, emotional, and social problems. On average, a school nurse spends 64% of their time on clinical tasks while the remaining time is spent on administrative tasks annually.
This puts a significant amount of responsibility on student health centers, especially those that only employ one or a few nurses. From our 2016-17 Annual Report, “Health Care and Athletics Trends in Independent Schools”, we learned that the average nurse to student ratio is 1:466. When we broke it down by school size, the ratio for small schools was 1:200, medium-sized schools was 1:400, and large schools was 1:500. That is a lot of students for one nurse to be responsible for!
However, a school nurse’s work is not limited to just the school health center, they interact with other departments and outside professionals to improve student care. They have to be able to communicate with teachers, physicians and physician offices, administrators, counselors, coaches, parents, emergency personnel, and sometimes even police officers and social workers.
Every day, especially on May 9th, Magnus Health wishes all school nurses a happy National School Nurse Day and thanks them for all that they do to provide better care for students!