Student Health Services Guidebook
This manual, presented by the Washington State School Nurse Corps, was created to assist school district staff in the provision of essential health services to students in compliance with state statutes. School districts should always refer to the most updated version of the specific Revised Code of Washington (RCW) for current legislation and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) regarding accommodations for students with disabilities. General recommendations made in these guidelines should never be substituted for legal counsel in a particular situation. Sometimes the law is silent and or may be unclear. In these instances it is prudent to consult with your district’s legal counsel and risk management consultant. Always consider district policy and procedures when providing school health services. The following chapters contain guidelines for school health services. The guidelines are a summarization of procedural strategies to assist administrators and school nurses to plan for health services throughout the school year.
This manual is divided into four sections:
• INTRODUCTION: a general discussion of health care in schools and a brief description of the role of the school nurse.
• TASKS: description of specific tasks that are mandated by RCW or overseen by OCR to be completed for each school year.
• DISTRICT SYSTEMS: description of health related systems that must be in place in order for health tasks to be completed in the school setting.
The school setting is not a health care setting but an educational institution setting.
The manual is a compilation of ideas and practices that describe health services systems that “work” in different school settings.
Each school district will develop systems that fit its school policy and procedures. It is important for school administrators and school nurses to work closely together to clarify student needs, medical risks, and liability for the individual school district.
Purpose of this Manual: Linking Health to Learning
Leon has a life threatening reaction to peanuts. His father is very worried about Leon starting kindergarten. He has many questions: Will Leon be exposed to peanuts in the classroom? In the cafeteria? On the bus? On a field trip? If Leon experiences an anaphylactic reaction, will someone be there to administer the epinephrine auto-injector? Where is it located? Is the staff ready for Leon?
Leon’s father is assured that staff throughout the school are prepared to keep Leon safe. Everyone knows what to do to prevent exposure to peanuts, and if an inadvertent exposure occurs, they know what to do to prevent anaphylaxis. The school keeps Leon safe throughout his school career from kindergarten to graduation with a coordinated, systematic, seamless, safety net.
“Asserting that ‘healthy students make better learners, and better learners make healthy communities,’ the Council of Chief State School Officers (CSSO) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers (ASTHO) have summarized compelling research evidence that students’ health significantly affects their school achievement. Even if their schools have the most outstanding academic curriculum and instruction, students who are ill or injured, hungry or depressed, abusing drugs or experiencing violence are unlikely to learn as well as they should.”
Kolbe, L.J. (2002), Education reform and the goals of modern school health programs. The State Education Standard, 3(4), 4-1
This Manual is a "Living document." It is based on the best work of ESD 105 member districts and school nurses across the state. It demonstrates the link between health and learning at the school level. It demonstrates the collaboration between educational professionals and health professionals as they work together to promote student success and academic achievement by:
• Enhancing communication between the language and perspectives of education and health.
• Assisting with the design of health services delivery within an educational setting.
This manual is a communication tool. It provides guidelines for the school administrator and school nurse to:
• Outline ways to reduce risk for students and reduce liability for the district.
• Review mandated health services in school.
• Review tasks, systems, and policies.
• Highlight and plan to make effective use of registered nurse time allocated for the school.
This manual is a planning tool. It provides guidelines for the school administrator and school nurse to:
• Review student health data as it impacts school improvement and student learning.
• Incorporate health activities into the annual school calendar.
• Assign roles to all staff to efficiently and effectively carry out health service activities/tasks outlined in the school calendar.
• Review the planning and implementation of health services annually to assure positive student health outcomes and promote student success