News from Nurse Hickey
Definition of School Nursing
"School nursing is a specialized practice of professional nursing that advances the well being, academic success, and life-long achievement of students. To that end, school nurses facilitate positive student responses to normal development; promote health and safety; intervene with actual and potential health problems; provide case management services; and actively collaborate with others to build student and family capacity for adaptation, self management, self advocacy, and learning."
(National Association of School Nurses, Board of Directors, June 1999)
The Comprehensive and Coordinated School Health Services consists of eight elements:
4)Food and Nutrition Education
5)Counseling, Psychological and Social Services
6)Safe and Healthy Environment
It is understood that the principle function of the school is to instill sound health behaviors; give factual health instruction; provide a safe, pleasant and emotionally supportive environment; and to recognize and refer for treatment students with physical, emotional and social handicaps. Through support and modification, the schools are able to eliminate health-related barriers to learning and provide the basis for empowering each student to become an educated consumer. The health services provide for Emergency and Basic First Aid, administration of medications and medical treatments as ordered by a physician, health screenings as mandated by law followed by referrals as needed. The health service is not for the purpose of diagnosing. All students will be referred to their family physicians for this purpose. The continued health and welfare of each student remains the direct responsibility of the parent/guardian, not the school. Medical responsibility as assumed by the school terminates with the immediate administration of first aid and proper notification and discharge of the student to the parent/guardian or to a responsible individual as designated by the parent/guardian.
Optimum health depends upon the integration of the family, community and school resources. We rely on the family and community services to assure that each student enters school in a state of physical, mental and social well being. In unison, the family, the community, and the schools cooperate to keep the students healthy during their school years. Through screenings and student visits, communication remains open as referrals are made to the family and appropriate resources. As educated students, they are better prepared to make self-directed decisions regarding their health. Thus the program responds to the needs of all students by promoting good health and life-long health related concepts.
JANUARY ILLNESS CONCERNS
As you have heard, the Flu is in peak season at this time. Other illnesses that can visit you and your students are: a cold (also a viral illness), pneumonia, bronchitis, strep throat, and the “stomach bug.”
The body’s immune system can also be weakened by stressors in lives that can include: personal, family, friends, work, educational, and financial issues. Stressors plus exposure to the many illnesses in one’s environment are bad news for your health!
Recommended guidelines for staying home that should be followed by students and adults who are not feeling well are:
Fever: The student/adult should remain at home with a fever greater than 100.4°. The student/adult can return to school after he/she has been fever free for 24 hours (without fever- reducing medicine such as Tylenol or Motrin).
Diarrhea/Vomiting: A student or adult with diarrhea and /or vomiting should stay at home and return to school only after being symptom-free for 24 hours, unless otherwise specified by the school nurse or licensed health care provider.
Conjunctivitis: Following a diagnosis of conjunctivitis, the student or adult may return to school 24 hours after the first dose of prescribed medication.
Rashes: Common infectious diseases with rashes are most contagious in the early stages. A student with a suspicious rash should return to school only after a health care provider has made a diagnosis and has authorized the student’s return to school (a doctor’s note that he/she can return).
Strep Throat: If diagnosed with Strep throat, the student or adult may return to school 24 hours after the first dose of prescribed medication. There can be a scary side to childhood strep (PANDAS- Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infection). Seek a throat culture for your student and get it treated if it’s positive for strep!
Colds: Consider keeping your student at home if he or she is experiencing discomfort from cold symptoms, such as nasal congestion and cough. A continuous green discharge from the nose may be a sign of infection. Consider having the student seen by his/her doctor.
Prevention is the best practice for all!
- 1.Wash hands frequently, especially before eating or after blowing the nose- soap and water is best, if available, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Remember that germs are easily spread from hands to mouth or face.
- 2.Practice good respiratory etiquette- cover a cough with your elbow or upper sleeve. Dispose of soiled tissues in the waste basket.
- 3.Practice social distancing when around someone who is sick. If you get sick with a fever (more than 100.3 F), stay home to recuperate. Don’t share the wealth! A student or an adult should be fever-free for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medicine, like Tylenol or Motrin/Advil. Take a temperature with a thermometer, not a hand!