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ERIC Number: EJ1094215
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
Building Strong Children: Why We Need Nurses in Schools
Maughan, Erin D.
American Educator, v40 n1 p19-22 Spr 2016
The number of students with chronic and complex health conditions significantly affects a teacher's ability to teach and meet the needs of the whole child--especially combined with the impact of societal issues such as poverty, violence, and the growing population of families who speak a language other than English at home. Education in America is free, but healthcare is not. This fact presents a unique divide among schools and even within classrooms, where some students have parents who have good healthcare coverage and seek medical attention regularly, while others come from families who are limited to emergency room visits for chronic illnesses or only see a healthcare professional in life-threatening situations. School nurses can help bridge this divide. Often, they are the only healthcare professional that students see regularly. So when a class includes Paul (who has missed multiple days of school, seems distracted when he does attend, and often has a deep, penetrating cough), Keisha (who stays in her seat during class but always seems drowsy), Aidan (whose disruptive behavior makes instruction difficult), and Anni (who is struggling to learn English), the school nurse should be one of the first resources their teacher turns to. Unfortunately, not every school has a nurse. Only about 50 percent of schools have a full-time registered nurse for at least 30 hours per week, and 18 percent do not have a nurse at all. American children have chronic health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, severe food allergies, and seizure disorders), which school nurses are trained to help manage. With so many students in need of medical care in school--whether that care is related to a chronic illness or an emergency situation--and so few nurses in schools to help them, policymakers, educators, and the general public must understand all that school nurses do so they can advocate for having one in every public school.
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A