If you think school nursing is all about flu shots, Band-Aids, and record-keeping, you haven’t been inside a school lately.
School health professionals juggle a complex array of medical and social issues, seeing thousands of students.
A typical schedule can encompass immunizations, health care screenings, hearing and vision testing; dealing with home accidents, diseases such as diabetes and asthma, student obesity, special needs like tube-feeding, preventing the spread of disease through blood exposure; and the fallout from mental, emotional, and social problems, including arranging for disadvantaged students to receive breakfast and clothing, and even helping students cope who are homeless or whose parents are incarcerated.
For some students, the school nurse is the only health care professional they ever see.
Nor is their work confined to the nurse’s office—they must also interact with other professionals such as teachers, doctors, child study teams, administrators, school counselors, coaches, parents, police officers, drug and substance abuse professionals, social workers, and other Education Support Professionals.
School Nursing Initiative
The School Nursing Initiative is a unique, collaborative effort of the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) and Orange County Public Schools. Its goal is to boost student health and attendance by staffing schools in the Winter Park Consortium of Schools with professionally licensed nurses.
These nurses provide a variety of services and are able to handle emergencies and treat illnesses so that children can return to class as quickly as possible, ready to learn and make the most of the school day.
Click here to find your school nurse
Financial support from WPHF allows schools in the Consortium—Winter Park High and its elementary and middle feeder schools—to hire either Licensed Practical Nurses who have one year of education, or Registered Nurses, who have two to four years of education. All nurses must take continuing medical education classes to keep their licenses current. School nurses provide health screening, prevention and health maintenance services, as well as emergency care.
In addition, when the need exists, nurses can refer students to the Consortium’s Nurse Practitioners based at Glenridge Middle School and Winter Park High School. They have master’s degrees and are able to offer more advanced care. They are available to see children residing in Winter Park Consortium attendance zones. They provide an important service to students whose families don’t have adequate health care coverage or access to a health care provider for their children. Funded by WPHF, the Nurse Practitioners can assess, diagnose and prescribe medications and therapies for patients. Appointments are required.