Janene Batten

Achieving the educational mission: Are Connecticut school nurses valued?

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education

AbstractSchool nurses are indispensable for students' educational success. They are often the only healthcare professional a child will see who can care for immediate health needs, coordinate care for students' chronic health conditions, and promote healthy behaviors. This qualitative study is the first to investigate the experiences that influence the inclusion of Connecticut school nurses as valued and essential partners in K‐12 education. Interviews with 14 Connecticut school nurses uncovered how they perceive their community values their role and practice in furthering the educational mission. The analysis revealed that although school nurses believe they bring value to students by providing equitable healthcare and wellness education access, they identified four organizational structural gaps in being seen as valued critical partners in the educational setting. They feel dispensable, their workload expectations are overwhelming, they feel undervalued as equal professionals, and they need more access to adequate professional development. This study has significant implications for K‐12 education leaders because school nurses are vital partners in the educational mission. They bridge healthcare and education, ensuring students can optimally learn. Recommendations for how leaders can empower school nurses are included.

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