By Louise Wilson MS, BSN, RN, NCSN Health Service Supervisor
An Introduction to School Health Services
Many of you have read my Nurses Notes for years. For some this may be a first. For people in both groups you may (still) be wondering what exactly is School Health Services and why does Beaver Dam Unified School District have School Nurses?
“The purpose of Beaver Dam Unified School District School Health Services program is to enhance the educational process by preventing, limiting, and removing health related barriers to student learning and promote decision making that leads to their optimal level of health” (Board Policy). In order to accomplish this the district now has three full time school nurses; Kristin Chitko RN, Nicole Scharfenberg RN, and myself. This year I will again be joined by two nursing students from UW-Madison who will be learning about community health nursing.
Each of the school nurses has responsibility for three schools. My schools include Washington Elementary, Wilson Elementary, and the Middle School. I rotate my time between these three schools visiting each at least once a week. Therefore, I am not in your child(ren)’s school all day every day. Due to the health needs of middle school students I have increased my allocation of time here for this school year. I will generally be at the Middle School on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Thursdays, I or my nursing student will be at the Middle School part of the day. Staff or parents can reach me via my cellular telephone at any time. Please feel free to contact me if you have any concerns, questions, or health information to share.
You should know that this year the first aid/health protocols were updated to reflect changes in standards of care, board policy, parent expectations, and the reality of today’s society. Emphasis is placed on keeping students in school when it is safe and in their best interest to be in school; while supporting parents’ responsibility for the health of their child(ren).
As School Nurse I perform a variety of duties and functions (this is what keeps my job so exciting!) These include:
- Collection of health information and development of health care or emergency care plans for individual students.
- Delegation and supervision of medical procedures performed in school so students with health conditions can attend school (ex. glucose monitoring, urinary catheterizations, tube feedings).
- Monitoring for communicable diseases. This is to insure a healthy and safe environment for students and staff.
- Vision and hearing screening. This is done to prevent vision and hearing problems from interfering with a student’s learning.
- Monitoring immunization status. The district is required by state law to assure compliance with state guidelines. The school nurse works with families to encourage compliance and thereby protect individual and groups of students from vaccine preventable diseases.
- First aid and health care training for staff. Since school nurses are not in the school building on a continual basis the school staff frequently monitor students for acute illnesses and perform first aid.
- Classroom presentations. School Nurses assist with the health curriculum by talking to students re: handwashing, tobacco prevention, puberty, nutrition, and other situations and or concerns.
- Monitoring medication administration in the schools. We have students taking both prescription and nonprescription medications in school.
- Health counseling, physical assessments and referral to other health care providers as necessary. School Nurses often talk to students about healthy behaviors, how to take care of mild illnesses or injuries, check students for rashes, injuries etc., and inform parents when a health concern requires medical evaluation.
As you can see school nurses are involved in numerous activities to promote and protect your child’s health while in school. I think it is a GREAT job!
Please feel free to contact me at any time this school year.
Louise Wilson MS, BSN, RN, NCSN
705 McKinley St. Beaver Dam. WI, 53916
885-7470 Ex. 1138
Cellular # 920-210-0834