The vital role of school nurses in ensuring the health of our nation's youth

Published:November 24, 2017DOI:
      The American Academy of Nursing believes all students must have daily access to a full-time, school nurse, who is part of a comprehensive health-care and education system, and is supported financially by health and education dollars. The health of our nation's youth affects the health of the nation now and in the future, and is a critical investment. Rates of chronic health conditions continue to increase and become more complex. The number of outbreaks of communicable diseases such as measles and pertussis has been increasing as a result of the increase in immunization exemptions that have caused decreased herd immunity for these and other conditions. Children with mental and behavioral health issues such as depression, school/personal violence, and bullying are also on the rise and being manifested at younger ages, with 13% to 20% of children in the United States experiencing a mental health issue each year. Many risk behaviors often develop during preadolescent and adolescent years. Researchers have found that having a school nurse present decreases absenteeism, increases immunization compliance, improves chronic condition management, promotes health, and assists with identification and management of mental health issues, allowing students to stay in school and improve academic achievement.
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