School nurses are unique resources crucial to the health of students in our community. As students and families settle into “back to school” time while continuing to navigate a global health crisis, I’d like to shine some light on their important role.
Naturally, a school nurse’s role is more visible than ever due to the pandemic, yet it is still a profession oftentimes misunderstood. School nurses handle much more than playground scrapes and calling parents when a student feels ill. The school nurse is sometimes the only health professional a child sees regularly.
School nurses like Heights-Murray Elementary School’s Tracey Glynn-Roulinavage, included in the Times Leader’s October 19 article, “Fulfilling a vision, literally and figuratively,” have been on the front lines of children’s health for decades. They handle in-school screenings, help students manage chronic conditions, connect families to crucial resources, instill life-long healthy habits, and more.
Moses Taylor Foundation has had the privilege of meeting with dozens of school nurses, administrators, and local health experts to better understand the school nurse’s role as part of our commitment to supporting school-based health. To formally identify challenges and opportunities to support school nurses, the Foundation partnered with the National Association of School Nurses to conduct a needs assessment in our 11-county region in Northeastern PA. This report, which can be downloaded at right, highlights the incredible dedication, resourcefulness, and optimism within such a complex profession — as well as barriers that prevent school nurses from being as effective as possible and strategies to overcome those challenges.
The Foundation is committed to helping overcome the barriers identified, and I invite the entire community to join in supporting our regional school nurses by learning more about their role and acknowledging their resilience, expertise, and value.
Dr. Mary Sewatsky
Interim President & CEO, Moses Taylor Foundation