Licensed School Nurses + Primary Care & Mental Health Services = Student Health & Academic Success
The Ohio Association of School Nurses (OASN) advocates for the health of Ohio’s school aged children and their families. With the recent advent of the increasing numbers of School Based Health Centers (SBHCs), it is important to understand the individual and collaborative roles of the Licensed School Nurse (LSN) and SBHCs. The unique combination of school nursing services and SBHCs facilitates positive health outcomes for students.
The Licensed School Nurse is an expert in school based health care. School nurses are responsible for the day-to-day health of students and the larger school community through:
- management of chronic disease and life-threatening health conditions,
- individual and population-based disease surveillance,
- health promotion,
- assistance in securing insurance and healthcare providers,
- preparation for and response to medical emergencies,
- care for students dependent on medical technology,
- mental health services,
- screenings and referrals
- immunization compliance
- medication management
- healthcare planning and education
- follow-up care
- care coordination
School Based Health Centers, according to the Community Guide website (2015) supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, must provide primary healthcare and may also include mental health care, social services, dentistry, and health education. Student participation must include parental consent, and services provided for individual students may be limited to specific types of care. Primary care includes the following:
- laboratory services
- medical diagnosis and treatment
- medication prescription
- oral care (optional)
- mental healthcare (optional)
The most effective model for healthcare in schools is the LSN and the SBHC working collaboratively. The unique relationship between LSN and SBHC allows for the facilitation of healthcare services, data collection and the development of critical links in the broader community. Healthcare for children in schools shouldn’t be a choice between a SBHC and a LSN. A collaborative model of having both ensures the optimal health for Ohio’s children and families.
Resources from the Ohio Association of School Nurses and the Ohio Department of Education are available at “Guidance and case studies from the Ohio Association of School Nurses” and "ODE School Based Health Care Toolkit."
National Association of School Nurses. (2015). The complementary roles of the school nurse and school based health centers (Position Statement). Silver Spring, MD: Author.
The Community Guide Website. (2015). https://www.thecommunityguide.org/findings/promoting-health-equity-through-education-programs-and-policies-school-based-health-centers.