Most students experience a health issue at school at some point during their education. It is for this reason that schools employ certified school nurses and/or other types of access to health care during school hours such as a school based health center staffed by a nurse practitioner. These nurses are able to provide care for both the acute and chronic health conditions of their students. Most of the health issues that children experience at school (bumps, scrapes, headaches) can be cared for by the school nurse. In many instances the child can return to class. When the health problem is more serious, a parent/guardian will be called to come and take the child home. If the nurse or other school staff see that a health issue is serious or life-threatening, the student will be transported by ambulance to the hospital emergency room or nearest physician. Parents/guardians are immediately notified in these situations. In many but not all schools, one or more staff members have been trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and first aid. In Indiana, licensed school staff are required to have current CPR certification. When health issues are chronic and impact the student’s right to an education, the student may be considered for a 504 plan or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Today, in part because of rising rates of obesity, diabetes, and asthma among adolescents, schools are being asked to take a much more active role in promoting students’ physical well-being. Attention has been focused in particular on physical activity, nutrition and health, and environmental conditions in school buildings (https://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/student-health/index.html). Mental health issues in schools are generally the purview of the school counselor, but as school counselors are not therapists, students who need on-going mental health therapy are referred to mental health professionals outside of the school.
- Healthy students are better learners.
- There is a relationship between school attendance and health.
- Children are often chronically absent from school for health reasons.
- School nurses can treat most of the health issues that arise in schools, whether requiring acute or chronic care.
- Students whose health issues are long-term may be eligible for a 504 plan or an IEP.
- Mental health issues are usually addressed by school social workers, school psychologists or school counselors. When long-term mental health care is needed, most students are referred to professionals outside of the school.
- Schools play a role in promoting healthy habits, providing health and wellness education as well as keeping the school and grounds environmentally healthy.
- Health Problems at School
- Student Health
- Health & Academics: Adolescent and Schools Health
- The Relationship Between School Attendance and Health
- The Top 10 Health Concerns For Children
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