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What does a school nurse do?

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Growing up, you may have made a couple of trips to the school nurse. They can mend a scraped knee or help to stop a nosebleed, but did you know that a school nurse can also help manage chronic diseases that students may have and so much more?

How is a school nurse different from a nurse in a pediatrician’s office?

A school nurse is different from a nurse that works in a hospital or pediatric clinic. The core focus of school nursing is to keep children healthy and in school, as it is well-documented that school attendance is essential for academic success. School nurses can improve attendance by reducing illness rates and allowing children to return to class if able.

A school nurse also builds special relationships with their students. Because of this, school nurses can talk to the students one-on-one and allow them to voice their concerns and feel comfortable. They also help children with medical or behavioral needs and work with them to create the best environment for the individual student as well as the larger school community. School nurses also provide education to parents and school staff, create school emergency plans and play a critical role during illness outbreaks and pandemics.

What does a school nurse do?

  • Assists children when they don't feel well. This can include minor ailments, such as headache, tummy pain or sore throat.
  • Determines whether an ill child can stay in school, go home or go to the doctor for evaluation
  • Recognizes acute signs of illnesses that need immediate medical attention (food allergies, asthma attack, broken bones, etc).
  • Manages medication for children that need to take medication during the school day. This can include administering antibiotics or medications for diabetes, epilepsy, etc.
  • Assists with chronic disease management. This task has increased in importance as more children with special health care needs attend school.
  • Communicates with parents and school staff to promote a healthy environment
  • Administers common over-the-counter medications, that are provided by the school, as needed to students
  • Maintains up-to-date immunization statuses for students through an online system

What is Ochsner’s School Nurse Program?

Ochsner’s School Nurse Program makes one of our dedicated pediatric school health nurses a full-time school staff member as well. Our school nurses are always connected with real-time consulting with Ochsner’s school health pediatric team of providers.

The next time your child has a trip to the school nurse, rest assured they are in great hands!

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