School health services is a term that can be used to describe the various components that relate to meeting the health and medical needs of children while they are in school. School nurses, the foundation of school health services, are licensed health care professionals working in educational settings and play a vital role in student success. They incorporate standards of nursing practice, coordination of care, leadership, and public health into schools on a daily basis. Maine statute requires at least one registered professional nurse in every school unit. [MRS 20-A§6403-A] School nurses straddle two statutory and regulatory frameworks: health and education. Because school nurses practice nursing in an educationally focused system, they face unique legal, policy, funding, and supervisory issues that also have unique ethical dimensions.
The National Association of School Nurses has developed a Code of Ethics for School Nurses, based on the American Nurses Association Center for Ethics and Human Rights.
Framework for 21st Century School Nursing Practice™
Used with permission from National Association of School Nurses
School Health Advisor
Since 1985, school administrative units have been required to appoint a school health advisor who plays an important role in the school district’s health program. The school health advisor functions as part of a health team addressing health issues of the student population in the school district. Working collaboratively with school administration, school health advisory councils and school nurses, school health advisors can have an influential role in implementing effective health programs that reach all children in the district. Although the school nurse is generally the primary provider of health services within a school, the school health advisor plays a critical role in guiding the policies and practices of health services provided at school.
Emily Poland, RN
School Nurse Consultant
Coordinated School Health Team Leader