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The Iowa school nurse holds a current registered nursing license recognized by the Iowa board of nursing to professionally practice, promote, and protect the health of the school population using knowledge from the nursing, social, and public health sciences. All students, as a healthcare consumers, have the right to nursing care that meets the legal standards of healthcare regardless of the practice setting (Nation Council of State Boards of Nursing, 2005).The school nurse retains accountability to provide the consumer this right of protection by following safe parameters to work as defined in the Iowa Nurse Practice Act (Iowa Administrative Code 655-6). Any health service provided to students in the school setting that constitutes nursing or any activity representing nursing is a regulatory responsibility of the Iowa board of nursing.
The school nurse is the licensed professional practitioner in the school community to oversee health services, policies and programs. The school nurse practices to provide students healthcare to minimize absenteeism and promote equal access to education. Nursing services assist parents or legal guardians to reasonably meet compulsory regulations of attendance for their child with mental or physical health needs pursuant to Iowa Code 299. Using professional nursing judgment and clinical knowledge, the registered nurse provides health care to students and staff, performs health screenings, develops individualized plans of care, provides health education, provides case management, coordinates referrals for students to the medical home or private healthcare provider, and assists the education team in early identification of learners needing accommodations or specialized instruction (American Nurses Association and National Association of School Nurses, 2011).
The following Department webpages provide additional information related to school health requirements, health services and school nursing practice.
School Nurse Google Group - A communication tool for school nurses in Iowa to request information and advice from other school nurse professionals and receive information from the Iowa Department of Education. To be added to the group, email Melissa Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
School Nurse Google Site - A website for school nurses in Iowa that includes online orientation, resources regarding complex disease management, health services resources all things related to nursing practice. Email Melissa Walker at email@example.com to access the site.
School Guidance from Iowa Department of Public Health
Common Child Illnesses Exclusion Criteria for Education and Child Care Settings guidance (1-22) - The Iowa Department of Public Health adjusted its guidance to recommend that schools and childcare settings approach COVID-19 like other child illnesses. The guidance provides a detailed list of common child illnesses and exclusion criteria, which now includes COVID-19.