There is no question that school nursing services play a vital role in improving the health and educational outcomes for millions of students enrolled in the nation’s public schools. On a daily basis school nurses attend to the acute and chronic health care needs of students which includes coordinating the delivery of students’ health care with parents, teachers and community health care providers. In August 2010 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) published a brief titled Unlocking the Potential of School Nursing: Keeping Children Healthy, In School, and Ready to Learn. “This brief reveals huge disparities in service provision, highlights promising policies and funding strategies, examines the challenges school nurses face, and uncovers the potential of these professionals to improve children’s health, remove barriers to learning, and save precious lives.”
The RWJF brief discusses:
• The modern complexity and diversity of students’ health care needs addressed by school nurses such as asthma and diabetes;
• The impact of nurse to student ratios in many states of one nurse to between 1,000 and 4,000 students;
• The funding challenges for school-based nursing services, including the limited availability of Medicaid reimbursement for medically necessary services provided to Medicaid-eligible students; and
• The current opportunities for Federal policy changes to improve the delivery of school nursing services.
The brief highlights the value of school-based health centers (SBHC) through which Nurse Practitioners provide primary health care services, such as full physical examinations, to students in clinics located on school campuses.
The full RWJF brief can be viewed at http://www.rwjf.org/files/research/cnf14.pdf.