May 7 is National Nurse Day

| 02 May 2014 | 11:51

    On May 7, we recognize our school nurses by celebrating National School Nurse Day as a way to foster a better understanding of the role of school nurses in the educational setting. The theme this year is, The School Nurse: Caring for Others — Caring for Ourselves.

    Parents should be able to send their children to school with the peace of mind that they will remain safe, healthy, and ready to learn. Given that today’s children face more chronic health illnesses (e.g. asthma, diabetes, food allergies, etc.) than ever before, we take our role as licensed, professional school nurses very seriously. We are grateful for the teachers, administrators, and professional support staff with whom we work each day — who help to create healthy learning environment for every child in our schools. Our knowledge, assessment skills and judgment help ensure that we can provide quality health care to children.

    As school nurses we take on a variety of roles every day. For many children, we are the only health professional they may have access to, except in emergencies. This becomes even more important as the prevalence of chronic social, emotional, and other health problems keep increasing. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), asthma is the leading chronic illness among children and adolescents in the United States. On average, in a classroom of 30 children, about 3 are likely to have asthma. Furthermore, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Today, approximately one in every 400 children and adolescents has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. According to a study released in 2013 by the CDC, food allergies among children increased approximately 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. The CDC reports that food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern that affect an estimated 4 percent to 6 percent of children in the United States. We help develop, implement, and monitor Individualized Healthcare Plans for these students to insure their safety.

    It seems like common sense that healthier students are better learners, and evidence-based research in fields ranging from neuroscience and child development to epidemiology and public health support this argument. Healthy people are happy people, who miss less work/school, have fewer chronic and acute illnesses, and usually live longer productive lives.

    As our local stakeholders (town councils, school boards, taxpayers, etc.) make funding decisions for next year, I trust their budgets will reflect the right priorities — ensuring our children have a successful, productive, and healthy future.

    Happy School Nurses Day to all my fellow colleagues!!

    In good health,
    Maria Garrera RN.MSN.

    Franklin Elementary School Nurse