Back to school advice from former school nurses

The days of summer vacation are winding down and you’re undoubtedly in back to school mode to make sure your child is ready for the upcoming year. Part of the preparation probably includes paperwork from the school nurse. Before you groan at the thought of filling out another form, consider the role a school nurse plays in the health and happiness of your child. BCBSKS employer wellness coordinator Jane Shirley and medical consultant coordinator Sarah Burenheide are former school nurses and recently shared some things that parents might be surprised to learn about the role of a school nurse.

School nurses are important advocates for your kids

They have a unique perspective that gives them a holistic picture of the health and well-being of your child. Because they’re interacting and observing them throughout the day, they may be able to fill in missing gaps about your child’s health and wellness. They can also ask the hard questions. Think of them as a third-party whose sole focus is making sure your child is the best they can be. Sometimes that means having a difficult conversation, but it’s one the school nurse isn’t afraid to have if they know your child’s health will benefit from it.

They play a huge role with the faculty and staff

In many school districts, it’s common for a school nurse to be shared among several schools. So the chance is slim that the school nurse at your child’s school is going to be present during a medical emergency. It’s why they spend part of their time educating staff members and providing resources that can help them out in these situations. They prepare the staff to handle all kinds of situations – from an allergic reaction to a broken bone.

They’re also a resource for the staff members themselves. In a typical workplace setting, it’s rare to work with someone with clinical experience. For the faculty and staff members at a school, the school nurse can be a person they can turn to for wellness resources or medical advice.

They are a resource for your child and your family…

…but only if you are open with them. School nurses understand that you may be hesitant to share everything when it comes to filling out your child’s health history form, but keep in mind that they are bound by the same confidentiality that you have with your doctor. If you’re not comfortable providing the information on a form, have a conversation with the school nurse instead. You might by surprised to learn how they can help your child or family connect with other services both inside and outside of the school.

In the end, the school nurse is always looking out for your child. They want to see them thrive and will do everything they can to make sure they have a happy and healthy school year.

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