School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: School’s Out For Summer (Almost) – Time to Renew for 2023-2024!

The 2022-2023 school year is definitely ending on a healthier note than it began, but it was a doozy. Most school nurses I spoke to, and there have been many this past year, all shared that this was one of the most challenging COVID years. So what does it mean to leave another school year behind?  The years are quickly adding up, as I say farewell to year 22. That magic number of 25 is closer than ever, and I believe I will make it to the finish line. 

I am ready for new goals and a refresh to my school nursing practice. What it will look like is the real question. How will I change my school nursing practice to meet the ever-increasing demands of our students, staff, and families?  To meet the ever-increasing demands of students, staff, and families, consider implementing the following suggestions in your school nursing practice. Here are 10 ideas that you may find helpful!

  1. Assess and prioritize needs: Start by assessing the specific needs and challenges of your students, staff, and families. Identify common health concerns, emerging trends, and areas where additional support is required. This will help you prioritize your efforts and allocate resources effectively.

  2. Expand your knowledge and skills: Stay updated with the latest healthcare practices and research by pursuing ongoing professional development. Attend relevant workshops, conferences, and training sessions to enhance your knowledge and acquire new skills. This will enable you to provide comprehensive care and address the evolving needs of your school community. Ask for your school district to support you by paying for membership to NASN and your state organization. Many states are affiliates of NASN which means membership to NASN includes state membership as well.  NASN offers many contact hours that are specific to school nursing practice. Inform your district of the benefits of membership, including keeping up to date on best practices.

  3. Collaborate with stakeholders: Foster strong relationships and partnerships with stakeholders, including administrators, teachers, parents, and community organizations. Engage in open communication and collaboration to better understand their perspectives and work together in addressing the increasing demands. Building a network of support will help you create a more holistic approach to student health.

  4. Promote preventative care and health education: Focus on promoting preventative care and health education within the school community. Develop health promotion campaigns, conduct workshops, and disseminate information on topics like nutrition, exercise, mental health, and hygiene. By empowering students, staff, and families with knowledge and skills, you can proactively address health issues and reduce the overall demand for healthcare services.

  5. Utilize technology and telehealth: Embrace technology and telehealth solutions to expand your reach and efficiency. Explore the use of telehealth platforms for virtual consultations, follow-ups, and health assessments. Leverage digital tools to streamline administrative tasks, improve documentation, and enhance communication with students, staff, and families.

  6. Advocate for resources: Be an advocate for additional resources and support within your school community. Work with administrators and policymakers to secure funding for healthcare programs, personnel, and equipment. Highlight the growing demands and the positive impact that increased resources can have on student well-being and academic success. Provide data-driven solutions to your requests, state the problem, but also offer solutions!

  7. Develop partnerships with healthcare providers: Collaborate with local healthcare providers, clinics, and hospitals to establish partnerships that can enhance the level of care you can provide. Foster relationships with medical professionals who can offer expertise, conduct specialized screenings, or provide referrals for more complex medical needs.

  8. Enhance communication channels: Improve communication channels with students, staff, and families to ensure that their needs are effectively addressed. Utilize multiple modes of communication, such as newsletters, social media, and dedicated websites, to disseminate important health-related information and updates. Consider implementing a feedback system to gather insights and suggestions from the school community.

  9. Practice self-preservation: Remember to prioritize your own self-care to avoid burnout and maintain your effectiveness as a school nurse. Take regular breaks, engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, and seek support from colleagues and mentors. By taking care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to handle the increasing demands of your role. Boundaries can be your best self-preservation tool.

  1. Implement data-driven approaches: Utilize data to inform your decision-making and prioritize interventions. Collect and analyze relevant health data, such as student health records, incident reports, and health assessment results. Use this information to identify trends, patterns, and areas of concern, allowing you to develop targeted strategies and allocate resources where they are most needed. Data-driven approaches can help you optimize your school nursing practice and ensure your efforts are focused on addressing the specific demands of your students, staff, and families.

Remember that meeting the ever-increasing demands of students, staff, and families is an ongoing process. Continuously assess the changing landscape, adapt your practices, and remain open to new ideas and approaches. Your dedication and commitment as a school nurse play a vital role in supporting the well-being and success of your school community.

5 thoughts on “The Relentless School Nurse: School’s Out For Summer (Almost) – Time to Renew for 2023-2024!”

  1. Dear Robin, I have been following you for awhile on Twitter & your blog even though I am not a school nurse (I was program director/NP at University in Newark) because of your advocacy in combating violence. I am now retired and have started teaching here in Florida and one of the courses I am teaching in Public Policy. I was thrilled to see you featured in the chapter on media power. So of course I talked about your advocacy work and played one of your videos for the class. Thank you so much for all the great work you do!

    1. Hi Patricia,
      What a wonderful message! Thank you for letting me know, that means so much to me. Best wishes on your new chapter and if you ever want me to pop into your class to say hi, I would be happy to do so!

    2. Hi Patricia, Thank you for your thoughtful message. I am so glad that you reached out! If you ever want me to hop into your class to say hello and share some advocacy thoughts, please let me know.

  2. This article provides valuable insights and practical suggestions for school nurses to meet the increasing demands of students, staff, and families. By assessing needs, expanding knowledge, collaborating with stakeholders, promoting preventative care, utilizing technology, advocating for resources, developing partnerships, enhancing communication, practicing self-preservation, and implementing data-driven approaches, school nurses can make a significant impact on student well-being and academic success. Great tips for enhancing school nursing practice and ensuring a holistic approach to student health!
    Benefits of a Balanced Lifestyle

    1. Thank you for your message! I appreciate you sharing your comments.

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