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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Student School Nurse Ratio Improvement Act of 2013 - The Importance Of School Nurses And Mental Health

National School Nurse Day May 8, 2013

It's true, last Wednesday was National School Nurse Day. When we think about school nurses we often assume that every school has a school nurse. But did you know that one out of four public schools has no nurse in the building? Pretty amazing when you consider that according to the National Association of School Nurses, school nurses:
  • Promote wellness by screening for mental, social and emotional needs, and preventative care early on;
  • Connect the school community by serving as a school, family and community health advisor; 
  • Assess student health and provide mental health counseling, follow-up support, and community resource referrals as members of school-based mental health team; 
  • Provide leadership in promoting health and safety, including a healthy environment for students and staff; 
  • Maintain a coordinated school health approach to communicable disease and chronic health condition management in order to keep children safe, healthy and in school; 
  • Serve on the front line as the voice for children’s health, advocate for student health, sometimes as the only access to care; 
  • Oversee the documentation, and safeguard and maintain of student health records; and
  • Actively collaborate with others to build student and family capacity for adaptation, self-management, self advocacy and learning. 

Congresswoman carolyn mccarthy
Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Representative Carolyn McCarthy introduces The Student to School Nurse Ratio Improvement Act of 2013

Last week The Student to School Nurse Ratio Improvement Act of 2013 was introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and it would create "federal grants to help states lower the ratio of students to school nurses and would require the U.S. Education Department to report the effectiveness of the program, particularly the relationship between access to student health services and academic success."

Representative Carolyn McCarthy says it best: "“Whether it’s helping to treat the common cold, helping to stop the spread of serious diseases or identifying the early warning signs of depression or abuse, school nurses are the first line of defense in keeping our schools safe. This legislation is a common-sense investment in our future and Congress would be wise to pass it.”

You can read the whole bill HR 1857 here. 

Do you remember your school nurse?

There is a very good chance that if you were raised in the United States and received your grammar school through high school education here, then you will remember fondly one or more of your school nurses. She/he might have been the one who discovered you had the measles or mumps, she/he may have been the one that asked about your unexplained bruises. Could be it was the school nurse who first discovered you had a vision or hearing impairment.  So here's to all the school nurses who have always been advocates for their very special patients.
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