School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: “Wouldn’t Now Be a Great Time to Have School Nurses?”


School Nurse Leading Children in a Nose-blowing Drill (Courtesy of the City of Toronto Archives)

It seems like it has taken a national public health emergency to highlight the fact that schools need school nurses. Yes, we are on the frontlines, in the trenches, front and center for all things health related for students and school communities. In fact, it was Mary Pappas, a school nurse from NY that noted an alarming trend of high fevers in her students. Mary reported her findings to her health department, which was key in identifying the H1N1 virus in 2009. 

Lina Rogers, the first school nurse, place in NY public schools by Lillian Wald in 1902, cared for over 10,000 students in 4 schools. Within a month, Lina Rogers had dramatically improved chronic absenteeism by 90%. You see, we have been in the business of school health for more than 100 years. Here is a message from Lina Rogers that rings true today:

“A sensible school nurse, with good judgment, discretion, and enthusiasm, may be a powerful factor in the general improvement of a community.” – Lina Rogers 

Andrea Gabor wrote this Op-Ed about “how budget cuts have made in-school health professionals an endangered species, just when the coronavirus epidemic highlights their value”:

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