Appreciation for nurses

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By The Staff

New Mexico communities and schools are struggling with how to provide quality education for our children in the midst of budget shortfalls. In this context, it is important to remember the critical role school nurses fulfill in providing comprehensive health services that keep kids healthy, in school and ready to learn.

School nurses have a unique set of skills, knowledge and educational preparation. They address major health problems experienced by school-age children as well as provide preventative and screening health services, health education and immunizations against preventable diseases.

School nurses have been central to New Mexico’s public health efforts against H1N1 influenza. In addition, school nurses provide interventions for acute and chronic illnesses, injuries and emergencies, obesity, substance use, teen pregnancy, mental health problems, dental disease, nutrition problems and sexually transmitted infections.  

School nurses provide leadership for the school system in partnering with providers at school-based health clinics, community health care providers and community organizations. They facilitate entry into Medicaid; they help families and students enroll in state health insurance programs and may help find a medical home for a student who needs one.

School nurses promote a healthy and safe school environment. They ensure appropriate exclusion from school for certain infectious illnesses and monitor school hygiene practices. They help develop and implement plans for prevention and management of school violence, bullying and disasters. School nurses may collaborate with school counselors in developing suicide prevention plans and coordinating response teams during a crisis.

School nurses improve the health and educational outcomes for New Mexico students.

Mary M. Ramos, MD, MPH, FAAP

School Health Officer

New Mexico Department of Health’s Office of School and Adolescent Health, Health Systems Bureau