School nurses are faced with a wide range of tasks in their day, from determining whether a little one is suffering from a stomachache or trying to avoid a math test to students who require assistance with ongoing, severe medical problems. Because of this extreme range of responsibilities, it’s important for those practicing school nursing to stay on top of the latest developments in the medical field and to seek additional education and training certifications on a wide range of topics.
In order to determine what additional training and supplemental education may be useful, school nurses should take a look at their student body and what medical issues those students may face. Additionally, talking with school health professionals in schools that feed into their school can give an idea of the medical issues of incoming students in the next couple of years. Other nurses may have personal topics of interest for which they would like to seek additional education.
Here are some of the most common topics and issues in which school nurses could obtain additional training:
Children who are facing diabetes very often need extra care throughout the school day. Nurses may need to handle blood sugar testing, administering insulin, tracking and coping with shifts in blood sugar numbers, and communicating with family members about possible trends and issues in the child’s condition. Obtaining regular updated training to stay abreast of diabetes care is crucial.
Obtaining additional instruction on managing students who experience seizures can be a comfort to both students and families of those who are faced with epilepsy and similar disorders that involve periodic seizures. Trained nurses are well equipped to handle any medical emergencies that may arise and can share their training with teachers and other staff to create a seamless plan in the event of a student experiencing a seizure during school hours.
It’s nearly impossible to find a school nurse who has a student body without at least some level of food allergies. Understanding different types of allergic reactions, how to treat a reaction, how to recognize the need for emergency help, and how to train teachers to recognize potential issues are among the additional knowledge that would be helpful for school nurses.
School nurses need to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and how to assist students and their families in finding the help that they need. Having a basic level of understanding about psychology and mental health care is extremely useful for nurses, especially those working with middle and high school aged students.
There are a variety of places that school nurses can turn to seek out additional training that will be of assistance to them as they go about their daily tasks. Seek out courses at local colleges, universities, and nursing schools. Look for programs offered through groups such as the American Diabetes Association and the Epilepsy Foundation. Or simply go online and search for virtual learning opportunities. By honing specialty skills such as these, it’s easy to make your school a safer, healthier environment for your students.