School-aged youth bring a variety of health-related needs into the classroom. A recent national survey estimates that 18 percent of school-aged children have or are at risk for a chronic health condition, and these numbers are rising.1 The rates of asthma and diabetes among children are increasing, and the number of children whose conditions are medically complex is also on the rise.2, 3, 4
Compared with healthy children, those with chronic health conditions:
- Are three times more likely to miss substantial amounts of school5
- Are nearly three times as likely to repeat at least one grade6
- Are more likely to demonstrate lower academic achievement and exhibit more disruptive behaviors
- Are more frequent victims of bullying7
- Have lower odds of graduating from college and being employed
- Exhibit higher odds of receiving public assistance because of lower income8
The school nurse’s role is critical to the implementation of quality school health services. For many children, contact with a school nurse may be the only consistent access to a health care professional. Optimally prepared school nurses are crucial to meet the multiple, complex demands of 21st century health care in educational settings.
- 1 Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health. National survey of children with special health care needs. http://www.childhealthdata.org. Published 2009/2010.
- 2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Asthma in the US: Growing every year. CDC Vital Signs. 2011:C221812-B.
- 3 Lipman T, Levitt Katz L, Ratcliffe S, et al. Increasing incidence of type 1 diabetes in youth: twenty years of the Philadelphia Pediatric Diabetes Registry. Diabetes Care. 2013;36(6):1597-1603.
- 4 Burns KH, Casey PH, Lyle RE, Bird TM, Fussell JJ, Robbins JM. Increasing prevalence of medically complex children in US hospitals. Pediatrics. 2010;126(4):638-646.
- 5 Bloom B, Cohen RA. Summary health statistics for U.S. children: National Health Interview Survey. Vital Health Stat 2007. 2006;10(234):1-78. http:// www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm. Accessed September 10, 2009.
- 6 Byrd RS. School failure: assessment, intervention, and prevention in primary pediatric care. Pediatr Rev. 2005;26:233-243.
- 7 Forrest C, Bevans K, Riley A, Crespo R, Louis T. School outcomes of children with special health care needs. Pediatrics. 2011;128(2):303-312.
- 8 Maslow GR,Haydon AA, Ford CA,Halpern CT. Young adult outcomes of children growing up with chronic illness. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;165(3):256-261.