School nurses’ role in bullying prevention

Bullying is a common issue faced in schools that needs to be addressed on priority by students, parents, school nurses, and the entire school community. Physical violence, name calling, cyber-bullying and any aggressive behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate a peer are forms of behavior that come under bullying. While schools are uniquely positioned to educate students and staff about the effects of bullying, the fact remains that bullying is prevalent even today in most schools in the US. It has been estimated that one of out four students in the US is a victim of bullying, and three quarters of the population are being regularly bullied both verbally and physically. Of those students who reported being bullied, 13% were made fun of, called names, or insulted; 13% were the subject of rumors; 5% were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; and 5% were excluded from activities on purpose – National Center for Educational Statistics.   How school nurses can help in the prevention of bullying The school nurse’s role in preventing bullying includes the identification of students who bully, are bullied by others, or both. You can collaborate with school personnel, parents, healthcare providers and community members to create a safe school environment. As a non-disciplinary, non-academic staff member, school nurses like you can engender trust and accountability in students. You can build a unique rapport with students, that allows them to confide in and build trust in you. When students talk to you about themselves, it will allow you to intervene into and address actual or potential school violence. Since you are a part of the school-based interdisciplinary team, you will come across students with health issues, attendance problems, discipline, or behavior issues and more. Students regularly designate the school nurse’s office as one of the safest spots in the school. Knowing that there is someone like you to talk to, who also has the power to do something, can be reassuring for children. Utilizing your expertise in assessments, you can identify behavior that could be perceived as malicious, such as angry outburst, running away, sleeping in class and so on as possible effects of violence. You will also come across physical symptoms that could be cased by violence, such as headaches, stomach aches and injuries. This knowledge will enable you to intervene when necessary and make appropriate referrals.   The school nurse can assist in several ways. You can: 1. Stay aware and have knowledge about bullying, aggressive behavior, victimization and the long-term consequences of bullying. 2. Be knowledgeable of why it is not okay to label students as “bullies” or “victims. 3. Put together a school team and act as a key member identifying bullied students or those who bully others. 4. Share information and observations on how to identify students at risk. 5. Screen students with recurring episodes of somatic complaints for bullying and stress. 6. Create a safe environment in the school, where students can openly talk about bullying or other incidents of violence. 7. Build strong relationships with other staff members so they can share concerns about bullying in schools.   School nurse’s role in bullying identification and intervention While any student can be bullied at school, students with disabilities, academic difficulties, speech impairments are particularly at risk. Students may even be bullied based on their physical appearance such as glasses, hair color and weight. Students who bully and get bullied can face serious and often, long-term consequences. 1. Increased absenteeism 2. Diminished educational achievements 3. Behavior issues 4. Low self-esteem 5. Sleep deprivation 6. Depression 7. Anxiety 8. Self-harm 9. Dropping out of school 10. Mental health issues   Bullied students are also at risk or physical symptoms like: 1. Stomach pain 2. Sleep disturbances 3. Headaches 4. Tension 5. Bedwetting 6. Fatigue 7. Decreased appetite School nurses can identify cases of bullying based on these symptoms and intervene with bullying prevention approaches that include crisis management and school violence prevention using a multi-tiered prevention approach.   Crisis management interventions must include: 1. Training school staff to assist in bullying incident response 2. Assessing, planning and implementing programs for after crisis intervention both in initial and long-term phases of treatment and recovery 3. Coordinating the medical response disaster plan until emergency medical services arrive 4. Providing nursing care for affected students 5. Applying crisis intervention strategies that help de-escalate a crisis situation and help resolve the conflict.   School nurses can develop school-based bullying addressal programs that educate students and staff and advocate for student support. 1. Multi-tiered support system: A framework which includes universal programs or activities for all youth within the community or school, selective interventions for groups at risk for being involved in bullying, and preventive interventions that specifically address students already involved in bullying. 2. Integrate bullying prevention efforts into school activities: Bullying prevention efforts that are well-integrated into the school’s activities create effective communication and establish social-emotional learning practices. They work towards creating positive school environments that prevent bullying, suicide and other student concerns. 3. Social emotional learning: Helping build self and social awareness, fostering relationship building and guiding effective problem solving. These practices help in understanding and appreciating differences in others and development of self-management skills. 4. Setting clear behavioral expectations: An awareness and understanding of behavioral expectations in all environments is essential. Students tend to feel safer and more supported in classrooms that are managed effectively. 5. Establish reporting and response policies: Policies should include topics such as how to address bullying-like incidents as well as training for school staff on bullying prevention and intervention. Educate family members on how to talk to their children about bullying and the importance of talking to the school nurse in case of such an incident. 6. Collect data on incidents on bullying: Periodically surveying students to understand incidents of bullying they have experienced or witnessed can help in its prevention. School nurses can use a school nurse software like EduHealth that track help school…

COVID 19: What to know before sending kids back to school?

  Children have been learning online for over a year now! Remodeling students’ habits to adapt to online learning has proven to be a complex process for educators, students, and parents.   Students are starting to return to the brick-and-mortar school setting.  But not all parents are rushing to send their kids back to school. This is because schools and parents are equally concerned about the following factors:    Whether the number of cases in the area low enough for the schools to reopen.  The school’s support of mask use, regular fumigation, and physical distancing.  Setting up hand washing stations and hand sanitizer availability throughout the school  The availability of a proper Electronic Health Record for school to ensure efficient COVID 19 tracking.  A proper school nurse health system to support school nurses to contact trace, test, and quarantine students/teachers who have been exposed to the virus.  A recent online survey conducted on 1000 respondents in the United States yielded the following result:    So should your ward go to school and risk infection or should they stay home?   Which brings to the important question of factors to think about while deciding to send children to school.       Questions to answer before sending children to school  There is no such thing as zero risks in the things we do, especially during an epidemic. There is no ‘one size fits all’ answers for questions to be considered before sending children back to school. However, the following set of selected questions can guide parents and schools as to whether or not their ward should be sent to school:   Would sending your child to school affect their mental health?  Surprisingly despite the apprehensions, sending kids back to school is predicted to have a positive impact on students’ mental health. Students are longing to socially interact with their friends and this is essential for their mental wellness. Perhaps children feel they’re stuck in the home environment with no one else to interact with. Therefore, if your kids’ mental health is bothering you, then consider sending them back to school.  Will your children fall behind if you choose to keep them at home?  Don’t worry about it! The whole world is going through similar chaotic situations. Before the classes resume, the authorities will change the class programs to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This is a surety that your kids will be ready to leap ahead no matter what.  Is a classroom setting going to improve your child’s learning?  On reopening, schools will impose a dozen protocols. This might not make returning to school pleasant for students. Some educators are even skeptical about whether classroom settings would be the best option for your child’s learning, while some others remarked that in-person learning is good for students even during these days.  The opinion of having in-person learning by certain educators has been proven right by a recent survey. The survey showed that the majority of the students were feeling ‘bored’ and ‘unmotivated’ by online classes. However, on asking about returning to the class setting, students had mixed but mostly positive reactions. So, whether classroom setting can improve child’s learning is purely parents’ call.      How to prepare your kids mentally after school recommences?   Parents are trying to prepare their kids for school reopening and speculate the challenges they would face. For those who are concerned about how to prepare their kids mentally after school recommences, here are some recommendations:    Plan in advance  Instill confidence in your kids through planning as a family. Educate your kids regarding what to expect at school, and the precautionary measures they should take. If there are higher-risk family members, tell your child the extra caution they should exercise.   Incidents of slip-ups like a mask falling off/falling on the ground, forgetting to wash/sanitize hands are expected. Such mistakes can trigger anxiety in kids. Prep them in advance- give extra masks, sanitizers, and wipes- so that worries won’t take over their coherent thought processes.  Discuss anxieties  Talk to your children about their emotions like: What are their fears? What are they most excited about? Boost confidence in your kids, give them space to synthesize their rational thoughts, and most importantly ask them not to hold anything in, but share what is on their mind with family. Make sure that there’s a dedicated space in your family to freely communicate your kids’ feelings.  Anticipate stresses  Kids are going back to school after a big transition and kids might be anxious about getting sick. Make them practice positive thoughts and talk to themselves with confidence. Make your kids practice breathing exercises if they encounter panic attacks at school. When parents are not around, such stress-busting practices are going to instill a lot of confidence in kids.  Ensure mental health  Kids and teens have high rates of anxiety caused by the pandemic. These periods of isolation have affected their mental health. Parents should proactively check their children’s mental well-being. Watch out for signs like sleeping difficulties, mood swings, self-isolation, lack of motivation, and safety concerns. Reassure that what your child is feeling is a normal reaction to what has been going around. When you feel that your kids need therapy or counseling, do not hesitate to consult a therapist or counselor.  Don’t expect overnight changes  Did your kids’ grades drop during the pandemic or have a non-existent social life? Expect such things not to change overnight. It takes time to fit in back to the school and societal settings. Set realistic outlooks and it will surely take some time for parents and kids to get into the new groove.  Stay flexible and consistent  Parents and students should be ready to face any adverse events that might lead the schools to closure again. Schools might continually change their protocols, so be ready to roll with the punches. Stay positive to change and mentally flexible because it will take time for everything to fall back in place.   Parents should stay on top of what is happening at school and communicate with school nurses to see their kids getting the best medical support. As for school nurses, their schedules are going to be hectic once the kids are back to school. This difficulty in managing their activities can be managed by Electronic Health Records for schools like EduHealth.     What schools can do on resuming?  Schools have lots of medical data to process especially when kids are returning to school amidst a global pandemic. School nurses have lots of student tracking to do to ensure that the children are kept safe from getting infected. A school nurse health system with a COVID 19 tracking dashboard can reduce the burden on school nurses during this phase.   While parents and students take all the precautions before school reopens, school authorities also have equal responsibilities in…

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Effective strategies for school nurses to deal with stress

  School nurses like you play a key role in student healthcare management and it often has you juggling multiple priorities to meet growing workplace expectations. This can put you under a lot of undue stress, directly impacting your everyday activities.   In a research study, 48.5% of school nurses reported medication errors, with missed doses at 79.7% being the most common category of error. A contributing factor could be the responsibility for a large number of students, which in itself can be a reason for stress in school nurses.   This article looks into factors causing stress in school nurses, how technology can help and, the importance of having a school nurse health system in schools.    What are the reasons for stress in school nurses?  School nurses help students in managing factors affecting their physical and mental health, and often, ignore your own health in the process.  At educational institutions, school nurses have:  1. Growing administrative workloads   2. Responsibility of caring for more children than they can     These are school nurses’ challenges put broadly. Let’s look at them in a little bit of detail:    Major Administrative workloads  Collecting health forms and taking care of the data, managing immunization compliances, school health report creation, timely medication administration, emergency care of students and staff are some of the many activities that school nurses manage every day.   Using paper-based processes to manage these activities is not just time-consuming, but involves significant effort from you, putting you under a lot of stress.     Responsibility for more children  NASN recommends 1 school nurse for 750 perfectly healthy students and the ratio becomes 1:225 for students who need daily professional nursing services.   However, today most school nurses work for more children than they can care for, resulting in their growing anxiety.  There are other stress factors that come as part of the job, affecting their performance and overall quality of student care.     Putting school nurses at ease  To avoid such adverse situations that school nurses face, you can use a system like EduHealth. EduHealth is an all in one school health management software solution.  School nurses can avoid anxiety to great extent with the help of school nurse health systems. An efficient school heath management software like EduHealth includes functions that simplify the management of the following student data like:  Digital records of students’ health history with allergy information, information on previous medical ailments and comprehensive medical records  Electronic immunizations records, medical prescriptions, and related health records Authorization letters from doctors and parent’s notes    Doctor visit records  And the system can even help you with medication reminders so you never miss another dose of your student’s medication.  School nurses can access all records with a click of a button. And you can even generate detailed reports, taking away a whole lot of effort you’d previously put into searching for right information on paper documents.   And the benefits don’t end here.   This way, EduHealth helps you stay in control of your tasks, give students the care they deserve and ensure medication safety without stressing you out.     What is the importance of a school health management software?  An efficient school health management software is a must-have for educational institutions. Schools should adopt technology solutions that are capable of enabling school nurses and ensure delivery of quality medical care for the students at the school. EduHealth’s user-friendly dashboard clearly lists the school nurse’s tasks for the day, and facilitates an environment for school nurses to perform their tasks quickly and free of errors.   Without proper health management software, school nurses will run into problems like:  Reduced productivity  Poor mental and physical health   Dissatisfaction at work    How can health management software support school nurses overcome such problems?   For starters, it helps you in creating daily routines and keeps you focussed on your duties. School health management software can assure:  Improved collaboration with different participants in the student health framework  Quick creation and retrieval of students’ medical file  Prompt feedback mechanism  Technology awareness among school nurses    Conclusion:  Technological innovations have simplified jobs for many – including school nurses. School health management software systems have made access to important health documents so much easier, enabling the efficient delivery of care.  With a strong support environment, powered by electronic health record system EduHealth, school nurses are in a better position to meet growing and changing healthcare expectations and are not under undue stress of administrative workloads.     

EHR Adoption Rate Statistics

  Team EduHealth recently surveyed school nurses to understand the latest EHR (Electronic Health Record) adoption trends in schools and school districts. The statistical report is based on a survey we conducted, which finds what in an EHR are school nurses and administrators looking for and which features in the system improved its adoption rates in the school and school districts. We’ve also covered important statistics on the other key decision-making factors in EHR adoption. The respondents of the survey are school nurses from schools and school districts in sMid-West, South-East and North-East America.   Background  Until very recently, school nurses used paper records to manage student health. The traditional methods of paper-based health record management were proving to be tedious and an administrative burden on already overworked school nurses. If a student came to the nurse’s room with an emergency health condition, the school nurse would have to open up hundreds of documents to learn more about the student’s pre-existing health conditions, allergies and the right medication. There also was the glaring disproportion of school nurses with students, which made things harder. In this context, health record software that electronically recorded student medical records were seen as a practical alternative to make school nurses’ jobs a tad bit easier. But as COVID 19 began its onslaught, electronic health record systems – whose capabilities then predominantly included medication tracking and immunization tracking had to be pivoted to include COVID 19 tracking and the ability to track student health remotely. COVID 19 also prompted several schools to quickly adopt an electronic health record system to meet the changes presented by the “new normal.” Today, though most schools have a system to track health records, expectations around what can be achieved with these systems have changed. But, there is no denying that EHR systems for schools have revolutionized student care by making it easy for school nurses to track and stay on top of student health without being riddled with loads of administrative tasks. And as EHR adoption rates grow, we aim to understand how school nurses use EHR systems and the critical features in an EHR system used most by school nurses and administrators to manage student health documents as well as the objective they hope to fulfill with EHR systems. The EHR statistics results are based on the information given to us by over 100 school nurses. Key takeaways of the survey    91% school nurses use some form electronic system to manage health records in their schools 30% schools do not have a COVID 19 tracking and contact tracing system in place Immunization tracking and charting capabilities in an electronic health record are very important to school nurses User friendliness is an important electronic health record adoption feature, with 86% of respondents replying in the positive Reporting capabilities is also a major priority, with 86% responding as very important Most school nurses want their student electronic health record systems to be HIPAA and FERPA compliant     EHR systems in a school environment  “EHR systems in a school setting have the capability to manage data and share it with members of the health care team outside the school setting can serve to optimize coordination of care.” NASN Schools have adopted EHR to simplify the management of important health information and make it easily accessible. In our survey, we asked the respondents if they used EHR systems. And 91% of the respondents said they use electronic health record systems in their schools. EHRs are essential to simplify the management of student health and medication needs. Electronic health record (EHR) is an electronic version of a patient’s medical history maintained over time. It includes all the critical administrative clinical data relevant to the person, including medications, problems, immunizations, other health notes, and so on. EHR systems automate information and have the potential to streamline their user’s workflow. However, from our survey, we gathered that 9% of survey respondents still rely on traditional methods, including paper forms or excel sheets, to manage student health record management.   What do 91% of school nurses expect from an EHR system? Though the EHR statistics says that 91% of school nurses have adopted an EHR platform, there are a significant number of users who are not happy with what the platform offers. As the complexity of health reports changes, school nurses and administrators need a system that can adapt to changing expectations. So, what are they looking for in an EHR system? Let’s find out. EHRs must be simple   User friendly interfaces When asked about the user friendliness of EHR systems, 86% of respondents in the EHR survey said the feature was a “very important” one. When school nurses use an electronic health record system, they expect ease of use, which takes only a reasonable amount of time to learn. EHR usability is defined by the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which specific users can achieve a particular set of tasks for a specific environment. Poor educational EHR usability leads to school nurses’ burn-out, increased medication errors, and student safety issues.   Health record and form digitization capabilities 73% of EHR survey respondents say that health record and paper form digitization capabilities “on-the-go” is a crucial priority. Though EHR systems store information digitally, the process of entering data remains largely manual. The data entry process involves several hours’ worth of effort. School nurses usually manage multiple health-related administrative tasks in the school, and one among them is updating students’ health records. While they earlier resorted to documenting them on paper records, the system was not reliable because human error loomed largely. Modern EHR systems leverage several technologies to help the school nurse community overcome this challenge. But sometimes, these systems make it difficult for school nurses to capture and store data in the right locations. The bulk scanner on EduHealth focuses on helping school nurses overcome this critical challenge. It scans the relevant information from health forms and saves it in the system. This way, it saves several administrative work hours and ensures all the data is stored in the right format, making data reporting- and audit-ready anytime.   Data transferability and uniformity The right data is very critical to arrive at the right conclusions. But transferring data from an existing system to another one is a challenge. First, all the data would be siloed and secondly, they’d be stored in multiple formats – some digital and some in paper. In this scenario, it can be difficult to transfer data to a system, let alone make sense of it. 62% of EHR survey respondents consider ease of transferring data a “very important” aspect…

Healthy sleep is vital for a students’ well-being.

  A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the maternal child and health bureau has revealed that most American high school students and 34% of children don’t get enough sleep. According to research, the new norms after the pandemic have created changes in children’s daily habits, including their sleep and wake schedules. The reasons also include the increasing screen time and the lack of physical activities. As most students are back in school, students need to adjust to their new daily routines and get adequate sleep and rest. In this article, you will find how important it is for students to have a good sleep, and the role school nurses play in identifying children with sleeping problems and educating them about Sleep health in Students. Why is sleep important?   Sleep is an indispensable part of a child’s healthy lifestyle. Many studies have proven that a child who sleeps well has improved concentration, learning, consciousness, behavior, and overall physical and mental development.   Good sleep can also benefit children and help improve their resilience, learning, memory, and vocabulary skills.    Sleep is good for toddlers and helps their motor skill development, attention, and memory skills.   There is a recommended amount of sleep that children need based on their age category.   As per the American Academy of Pediatrics   Infants below 1 year must have 12-16 hours of sleep   Children below 2 years need 11-14 hours of sleep   Children from 3 to 5 years need 10 to 13 hours of sleep   Children from 3-5 years old need 10-13 hours of sleep   Children from 6-12 years old need 9-12 hours of sleep  and Teenagers from 13-18 years old need 8-10 hours of sleep   [/vc_column_text] What are the reasons that cause sleep deprivation in students?   Many physiological reasons affect the sleeping habits of children. The proper understanding of sleep deprivation factors is crucial for curing sleep disorders.   Loss of sleep in children has been linked to the many physical and behavioral disorders in the student, like apnea, mood disorders, anxiety, and stress.   Lack of sleep can cause inattentiveness, poor academic performance, and signs of irritability in children.   Two distinct factors that lead to sleep deprivation in children are   Physical factors:   Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is linked to sleep disorder issues in children. The symptoms include breathing through the mouth, snoring, and sleep apnea.   Poorly controlled asthma, high body mass index, and restless leg syndrome may also lead to SDB in children.   OSA or obstructive sleep apnea is also a factor found in children who have sleeping issues. It can lead to partial or complete obstruction in breathing and enlarged tonsils.   Behavioral and psychiatric factors:    Various emotional factors like stress, anxiety and mood disorders cause sleep disturbances in children.   Autistic children and children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity) issues may have sleep loss.   Children suffering from PTSD or trauma can experience problems like sleep enuresis, nightmares, night terrors, and sleepwalking.   Nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting) may affect the children and cause nightmares, night terrors, and sleep deprivation.   Sleep deprivation impacts on student health  Children who are deprived of good sleep can easily become grumpy and hyperactive, a behavior that mimics ADHD.   Sleepiness will also affect the child’s attentiveness and performance at school. A child’s daily life will have massive impacts from lack of sleep.   Reduced sleeping hours can result in:    Accidents and injuries    Performance-related problems    Memory concentration and learning problems    Behavior problems    Mood problems    Reactions being slower    Overeating    Poor sleeping patterns in children that are young have been linked to allergic rhinitis, immune system issues, anxiety, and depression.     Inadequate sleep during childhood may also carry future risks in the form of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.     In adolescents, inadequate sleep can have long-term effects on academic performance and mental health.      What is student sleep health week all about?   It is a resolution introduced in the US house of representatives, designating the days from September 12th to 18th as student sleep health week. The initiative is supported by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and they conduct SSHW (student sleep health week) in American schools and for creating awareness in American students about the importance of healthy sleep in children and how it helps in their academic performance.   Tips to ensure students get good sleep      The best way for students to get good sleep is ensuring they follow a consistent bedtime routine. A consistent bedtime routine helps children get enough sleep.   School nurses can help educate children and parents on the importance of good sleep times and practices.      A good bedtime routine includes:    Turning off computers, TVs, video games, mobile phones    Switching off bright lights, creating a bedroom that’s dimly lit    Create a cool and quiet sleepful environment.   Reading a light book, singing a lullaby, or taking a bath    Reduce the screen time of kids, stop watching screens by four hours before going to bed.   Picking a stuffed animal or security blanket for the night for toddlers    Parents must identify sleepiness or tiredness in children. The best time they should be putting the child to sleep is when they’re sleepy, and not when they are already asleep.   Avoid actions like negotiating bedtime, using it as a punishment, allowing kids to consume sugary or caffeinated foods late in the day.      School nurse’s role in improving sleeping habits of students   School nurses understand how good sleep practices result in academic success.    The school nurse sleep assessment includes repeated interactions with the students and parents and identifying the children with sleeping disorders and trying to improve the child’s daily routines and sleeping habits.  Regular health screenings can help them diagnose issues and disruptive behavior in them. Signs like falling asleep in class, obesity, poor academic performance will also be recorded in the health screenings.   School nurses can utilize Eduhealth systematically and comprehensively to note and observe sleep deprivation behavior in children. The recorded information and the reports will help nurses identify the causes of sleep problems in students and educate the parents by giving them sleep tips for student health development.   School nurses like you who have profound knowledge of development, health promotion, and evidence-based intervention, are experts in working with families and children.   This is why you are uniquely positioned to explore various factors that hamper sleep in children as well as test how your interventions bring about positive changes in children’s behavior.    School nurses have a role to play in restoring good sleeping practices in the American youth and EduHealth is a tool they can rely on to…

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How Electronic Health Records Help Reduce Teacher Absences

  More than 900,000 K-12 teachers per school year were absent from their classrooms in 2019.   This is 28% of teachers nation-wide who are chronically absent.   This number is thought to be even higher with the rise in number of teachers resigning from their jobs owing to COVID 19.   10 absent days every school year is the tipping point beyond which teacher absences go from an acceptable level to the problematic chronic level. And on average, teachers are now absent for about 11.8 days.   The National Bureau of Economic Research has said that 10 days of teacher’s absence can cause significant decrease in student outcomes.   And the negative effect goes beyond students, to their colleagues and the school community.   Without consistency during classes and high-quality instruction, students are more likely to see low achievement levels, increasing their chances of not graduating. Moreover, when teachers are chronically absent, they compel colleagues to work harder and pick up the slack.     What are the main reasons for teachers’ absence?  Factors that influence teachers’ decision to stay absent include timing, sick days, maternity leaves, personal days, professional development, colleagues’ attendance norms and care for children/elderly parents.  Certain others attribute the problem to an unsupportive or lax school climate. When teachers don’t feel motivated to go to school, they decide to not show up.   Stress and illnesses that come from interacting with young children who are susceptible to illnesses – occupational hazards too are counted in.     COVID 19-related absences  And this year, owing to COVID 19, many teachers have opted out of returning to schools. Several states have seen surges in educators filing for retirement or taking leaves of absence.   Some teachers worry schools were not fully committed to ensuring social distancing and worried that the school did not have enough safety equipment for students and teachers.   Certain others have said that technology requirements and the pressure to record classes on video were one of the reasons for their absence.     Electronic health records can reduce teacher absences  Schools can turn to technology solutions like electronic health records to overcome these challenges to a great extent.   Electronic health records (EHR) in schools can help to monitor staff health and absenteeism. They can manage healthcare-related data and help to improve how care is given. EHRs also play a vital role in keeping children healthy and in schools. And it’s a given that when children in schools are healthy, teachers too remain healthy.   Another benefit is electronic health records can help school nurses analyze absence patterns that could hint towards possibilities of stress or other challenges that teachers face in school. Once the underlying reasons for absences are identified, school administrations can take the necessary steps to see what can be done to ensure teachers are in safer and happier environments in the school.  Times like now, where teachers have to deal with the trauma of COVID 19, pose more challenges than usual. In these situations, teachers have to help themselves and their students, while adjusting to the new learning models. Here, an electronic health record software system with a COVID 19 tracker like EduHealth, can improve their confidence by ensuring safer schools and adherence to safety best practices. Once teachers are confident to come back to schools, the learning process can get back to normal, helping children improve their academic achievement levels.   —  High teacher absenteeism has consequences for students. And chronically absent teachers can cause their classes to stagnate and compel colleagues to step in as substitutes. Electronic health record software like EduHealth can be an important investment in turning this around. EHRs keep our children and schools safe. And when schools are safe, teachers are safe and present.   You can see how EduHealth can keep your school safe and keep your teachers present by signing up for a free demo today. 

How Can a School Nurses Help in Managing Asthma in Students?

  Managing asthma in students: how school nurses can make a difference   How can we ensure that students with asthma are able to thrive in school, despite the challenges that come with managing their condition? Managing asthma in schools can be complex, especially when you have to consider a range of factors from identifying triggers and monitoring symptoms to administering medications and communicating effectively with parents. For school nurses, ensuring that students with asthma are safe is critically relevant. Asthma affects an estimated 1 in 13 school-aged children, it is a condition one is likely to encounter frequently. School nurses play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being and academic success of students with asthma. In this blog, we will explore some of the key strategies that school nurses utilize to help students with asthma, manage their condition and stay healthy and happy in the classroom. Right from creating individualized asthma action plans to promoting asthma-friendly environments, we try to explore the practical tips and best practices that can make a real difference in the lives of students with asthma. What is asthma and what are its symptoms? Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects the airways, causing inflammation and narrowing, which leads to recurring episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Common symptoms of asthma include: Wheezing (a whistling sound during breathing) Coughing, especially at night or during physical activity Chest tightness or pain Shortness of breath Fatigue or reduced stamina Understanding these symptoms is essential for identifying and managing asthma in students effectively.   What are the triggers for asthma attacks? Asthma attacks can be triggered by various factors that includes: Allergens: Pollen, dust mites, mold, pet or insect allergens. Respiratory Infections: Colds, flu, or sinus infections. Irritants: Tobacco smoke, air pollution, strong odors, or chemical fumes. Physical Activity: Intense exercise or prolonged physical exertion. Weather Conditions: Cold air, humidity, or change in temperature. Emotional Factors: Stress, anxiety, or excessive laughter. Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, or beta-blockers. Identifying and avoiding these triggers is crucial for preventing asthma attacks in students. The role of school nurses in managing asthma School nurses have a challenging role in managing asthma among students. Some of their key responsibilities include: Asthma Assessment: Conducting initial assessments to identify if a student has asthma and assess their symptoms, triggers, and overall control of the condition. Individualized Care Plans: Developing and implementing personalized asthma care plans for students. The asthma care plan needs to be collaborated and communicated well with the healthcare providers, to ensure appropriate management and emergency response. Medication Management: Administering and monitoring the use of asthma medications, such as inhalers or nebulizers, as prescribed by healthcare providers. Emergency Response: Being trained to recognize and respond to asthma emergencies promptly that includes administering emergency medications and seeking further medical assistance, if needed. Collaboration and Communication: Collaborating and communicating with students, parents, teachers, and healthcare providers to create a supportive and asthma-friendly school environment. Data Collection and Monitoring: Collecting and maintaining accurate student records with asthma, tracking their symptoms, medication use, and overall control to identify trends. This helps to provide appropriate interventions. Referrals and Follow-ups: Making referrals to healthcare providers or specialists for comprehensive asthma care and ensuring regular follow-up appointments. Staff Education and Training: Conducting training sessions for school staff members on asthma awareness, emergency response, and the implementation of asthma management strategies.   Using school EHR system to manage asthma in students By leveraging technology, school nurses are better equipped to provide personalized care, monitor asthma control, and communicate effectively with parents and healthcare providers. This helps to create an asthma-friendly environment that supports the well-being and academic success of students with asthma. The Electronic Health Record (EHR) system is one of the the reliable ways that can help school nurses to manage asthma in schools. These digital tools offer great benefits and opportunities to streamline asthma management, enhance communication, and facilitate collaboration among school staff, healthcare providers, and parents. The EHR system provides school nurses with a centralized platform to record and access comprehensive health information of students that includes their asthma history, medication records, and individualized asthma action plans. This digital database allows quick and easy retrieval of essential data, enabling school nurses to make informed decisions and provide timely interventions in managing asthma. One of the best advantages of using an EHR system in asthma management is the ability to track and monitor students’ asthma-related data over time. School nurses can input and analyze information such as peak flow measurements, symptom patterns, and medication usage trends. This data-driven approach empowers school nurses to identify any potential triggers, recognize patterns of asthma control, and intervene proactively to prevent future asthma attacks. EHR systems also facilitate efficient communication and collaboration among key stakeholders (parents, healthcare providers, and emergency responders) involved in a student’s asthma care. School nurses can securely share relevant health information with healthcare providers, ensuring seamless coordination. This digital platform also enables effective communication with parents, providing regular updates on their child’s asthma management, medication schedules, and any changes in their condition. By implementing an EHR system in schools the school nurses can improve their work productivity and streamline process much faster and more efficiently. The benefits of school nurses’ interventions in asthma management Research has shown that school-based asthma interventions led by school nurses can improve student health. School nurses’ interventions may include identifying and addressing triggers, monitoring and providing medication administration, promoting proper use of inhalers and spacers, and educating students, staff, and parents about asthma management. The involvement of school nurses in managing asthma has numerous benefits for students, schools, and the overall education system. Some of the Benefits of School Nurses’ interventions are – Improved Health Outcomes: School nurses contribute to better asthma control, reduced symptoms, and fewer asthma-related emergencies among students. This leads to improved overall health, fewer school absences, and enhanced academic performance. Empowerment and Education: School nurses educate students, staff, and parents about asthma,…

How are schools across the globe re-opening amid COVID 19

  While big-city school districts and schools in communities living in high poverty and less likely to re-open for in-person classes, the academic year begins for 50 million children in the US. The Center for Reinventing Public Education has analyzed reopening plans for almost 500 school districts across the country, including many of the biggest ones.    Across the US, one in four school districts plans to reopen entirely remotely. An analysis of school district plans has it that about 80% of urban schools will be remote only, compared with 34% of suburban districts and 13% of rural districts.    As for other countries and their school reopening plans, some of them have been cautious about reopening and those who have gone ahead, have seen mixed results. Most others don’t plan to resume in-person classes until 2021. However, it is a lack of access to technology and the widening achievement gap seems to be having school leaders in a dilemma: reopen schools and risk virus outbreaks or continue with virtual classes and leave a set of students behind.      Challenges to reopening schools   Most schools are yet to put in plans on how to deal with an outbreak in their schools. If the schools face an outbreak, it puts children, teachers, their communities at risk, which could even cause deaths.     How have countries responded   Isreal opened its schools in May and had not imposed social distancing guidelines, which resulted in full-size classrooms with close to forty children in them. Reports have it that over two thousand people have tested positive throughout the country’s education system since with the death of one teacher. Following these incidents, most parents now refuse to send their children to school over concerns about everyone’s safety. Israeli schools with reported cases now close for two weeks and all staff and students are required to quarantine for the period.    The Germans have taken a different approach. They’ve kept classes running, forcing those with close contacts with infected people to quarantine.    The Swedish never closed their schools and have been on with a risky gamble skipping the COVID 19 lockdown. Only students 16 years and older stayed home and continued learning remotely. With a focus on personal choice, social distancing and masks were recommended, but optional.    Japan, which has mostly been successful at keeping COVID 19 at bay, has taken a conservative approach. Japanese students attend classes in person on alternative days, so classrooms are only half full. Lunch breaks are silent, socially distant and students undergo everyday temperature checks.    Uruguay’s well-organized and efficient public health system and their strong faith in the government has led to successfully stopping COVID 19. The country has the lowest rates of COVID 19 cases and deaths and has not shut down its economy entirely. Uruguay was one of the Western Hemisphere’s first countries to send its students back to school in stages.   Only six African countries have fully reopened schools. In Sout Africa, students are returning to school in a phased manner by class. It’s the second time schools are reopening after the initial reopening resulted in a spike in the number of cases, forcing schools to close.    Eleven million of UK’s students have not been to class since March, but children will start returning to schools in September. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged parents to send their kids to schools and has called reopening schools his “moral duty”.    As for most of South and Southeast Asia, most schools remain shut. Most Indian schools have moved to remote learning. In Sri Lanka, the government has allowed schools to partially open for August.  

Detection and control of COVID 19 spread in schools using technology

  The schooling community comprising of students, teachers, staff, parents, and administration is looking at how they can slow the spread of COVID 19 within the schooling environment. Schools are determining how they can collaborate with state and local health officials to implement CDCs considerations to maintain healthy learning environments.   To help students and communities to overcome the crisis, technology enterprises are developing solutions to step up the detection and control of COVID 19.     What is COVID 19?  COVID 19 is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV 2). The disease was first identified in Wuhan, China, and continues to spread around the world, as an ongoing pandemic.     What are the symptoms of COVID 19?   People who’ve come down with COVID 19 have shown a wide range of symptoms – ranging from mild to severe symptoms. The symptoms typically appear after 2-14 days post-exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms are highly likely to have COVID 19:   Fever or chills  Cough  Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing  Fatigue  Muscle or body aches  Headache  Loss of taste or smell  Sore throat  Congestion or runny nose  While this list does not include all possible symptoms, these are the most common ones. CDC keeps updating its list as they learn more about COVID 19.   When to seek emergency medical attention?  You need to look for emergency warning signs of COVID 19. Seek emergency care if you have:  Trouble breathing  Persistent pain or pressure in the chest  New confusion  Inability to wake or stay awake  Bluish lips or face  How does COVID 19 spread?  Learnings about how the coronavirus spreads and its severity are still underway. From what’s known, it is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. In some cases, people without any symptoms too can spread the virus.   The virus spreads from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with each other.   It spreads through the respiratory droplets of an infected person when they cough, sneeze, or talk. When these droplets land in the mouths or noses of people, they’re inhaled into the lungs infecting the person.   Another possibility in how the virus spreads is when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches their nose, mouth, or eyes. This, however, is not thought of as the main way in which the virus spreads.     How to slow down or prevent the spread?  Public health measures like everyday preventive actions are integral to slow down and prevent the spread. They include:  Staying home when sick  Following social distancing of maintaining a 2-meter distance between people when out  Covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing/using masks  Washing hands with soap and water/using sanitizers to clean hands  Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects    How to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in schools  It is important to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID 19 in schools. And at the same time, schools must ensure that students and staff who’ve been exposed to the virus are not stigmatized.   The COVID 19 crisis is an opportunity to help children learn, cultivate compassion, and increase resilience while building a safer and more caring community. Sharing the right information about COVID 19 in an age-appropriate manner with children can help alleviate their fears, enabling them to cope with the impact it has on their lives.     What school administrators, teachers, and staff can do  Disallow sick students, teachers and other staff from coming to school  Enforce regular handwashing with soap and water, rub hands with hand sanitizers, or chlorine solutions. Daily disinfection of school surfaces  Provide water, sanitation and waste management facilities  Promote social distancing   Keep updated with latest COVID 19 facts and share only the right information within networks  Ensure safe school operations like developing school emergency and contingency plans, reinforcing frequent handwashing and sanitation, cleaning and disinfecting school buildings  Establish processes to address situations where students or staff become unwell and ensure they’re shared with students and parents so they’re not caught off-guard when a situation arises.  Follow guidelines from the national health and educational authorities.  Change school policies where appropriate   Track school attendance with absenteeism monitoring systems  Plan for continued access to uninterrupted learning.  Integrate disease prevention and control in daily lives and lessons. Put in place targeted health education.   Allow children to discuss their questions and concerns. Address their need for mental and psychological support and explain that it is normal to experience different reactions.  Ensure continuity of critical services for children with special needs, children with disabilities, children in marginalized     What parents, caregivers and community members can do:   Understand the basic information about COVID 19. Stay informed about COVID 19 updates through sources like the CDC and WHO. Be aware of fake information that may get circulated.   Identify the symptoms of COVID 19 that can affect your child. If the child is sick, keep them home from school.   Keep healthy children in school unless there’s a public health advisory or relevant warning against it.  Encourage a healthy hygiene routine. Identify signs of stress in your child. Common signs are difficulty in sleeping, bedwetting, stomach pains, anxiety, withdrawal, anger, clinginess, or fear of being alone. Listen to their questions, respond to them in a supportive manner, comfort them, and keep them reassured.    What students can do:  Children must understand basic age-appropriate information about COVID 19, including symptoms, complications, how it spreads, and how to prevent transmission. They must consume information from reputed sources like CDC, WHO, and national health advisories.     Disease surveillance systems and COVID 19 checking  Disease surveillance systems help collect, analyze, interpret data, and disseminate data to those responsible for preventing and controlling diseases. Disease surveillance systems in schools estimate the health status and behaviors of students. Because surveillance helps to directly understand what’s going on within a population, it helps in tracking and measuring the need for intervention.   EduHealth is a school health…

Being a school nurse: Challenges and How to Resolve Them

  School nurses play a multifaceted role in supporting students and communities with their health needs and this is just one of their many responsibilities. They serve in a pivotal role that bridges healthcare and education. Most key responsibilities of school nurses have risen as a response to the local need. School nurses are part of several school health activities like combatting chronic absenteeism, physical and mental health care, health promotion, educating staff, attending child protection conferences, administering vaccinations, and addressing bullying issues.    Health promotion (96%)   Educating school staff (94%)   Attending child protection conferences (82%)   Administering vaccinations (73%)   Addressing bullying issues (65%)    Besides providing emergency care, school nurses also   Act as case managers for students’ continuing health care needs at school   Coordinate height, weight, vision, hearing, and dental screenings   Administer medications   Perform procedures and assessments   Communicate with health care providers, therapists, parents, and school staff   Provide health education to students, school personnel, and families   Provide a career shadowing experience for nursing students      Challenges of school nurses   When a school nurse is present to meet student healthcare needs, parents and school administrators know that children and youth can focus on learning. Despite being a motivated and dedicated workforce, school nurses face multiple challenges in a school setting.    NASN data shows only 39% of public schools have a school nurse all day, 35% have a school nurse who works part-time, leaving 25% of schools without a full-time school nurse. The most frequently reported school-based challenges school nurses face are having limited resources and a high caseload. They also faced barriers like communication challenges, multiple documentation requirements, conflicting needs and points of view, and working in isolation.     Limited resources and a high caseload: School nurses are heavily dependent on the school’s budget and resources when it comes to providing healthcare. The department is a small fraction of the school’s budgetary concerns. When working in a limited budget and high caseloads, school nurses may have to adjust their approach to healthcare.    Communication challenges: School nurses sometimes face challenges in communicating effectively with school administration, parents, doctors, pharmacies, health care bodies regarding student health because they have too many priorities and limited resources that enable them to meet these expectations.   Multiple documentation requirements: School nurses have the responsibility of updating student health records and maintaining them. This isn’t an easy task and can be time-consuming to the extent that it keeps them from doing what they were meant to do – taking care of students and communities.    Conflicting needs and points of view: Providing healthcare is not the primary objective in an academic environment. School nurses must contend with competing interests and points of view when caring for students in a school setting. In certain instances, while nurses would recommend that a child’s healthcare be prioritized, school administrators may want to keep a student in school instead of addressing their healthcare needs.   Working in isolation: School nurses will work in relative isolation as compared to the traditional healthcare environment. They’ll no longer be able to depend on the advice and support or colleagues. In some cases, school nurses are the only healthcare professional on the campus, which can create feelings of loneliness and seclusion.    Overcoming the challenges   While the disciple of school nursing has come a long way, there is much there is to be done for their betterment. The NASN recently submitted a petition for funding 10,000 school nurses to join for the upcoming school year. The school nurse is more important than ever and expanding their presence in the school setting is essential. They help students grow and thrive. And a professional school nurse is needed for every school because school nursing is the foundation of students’ physical and mental health.    To support them in their activities, they need infrastructure that enables them to do their best work. School nurses must be an integral part of school healthcare policy creation and amendments because they are actively involved in student healthcare and would be able to provide expert suggestions for improving the health of the student community. School nurses need to work in collaboration with school administration and faculty to ensure student health is given due priority. They also need to educate the teaching community about the dangers of overlooking unusual student behavior and student health concerns, and why it needs to be addressed for the student’s overall health.    School nurses also need to be familiarized with digital health records systems to simplify student health documentation requirements. They need to be relieved of the paperwork and enabled with digital systems that simplify medicine administration, immunization tracking, and more. EduHealth is a comprehensive educational healthcare solution for school nurses to collect, track, and manage student health information. Designed by school nurses, it has features connecting the entire schooling community of students, parents, administrators, school nurses, and more. Nurses can access student health history and immunization and health-related documents in a single button click, making their jobs and lives infinitely easier.    EduHealth also enables easy communication with the healthcare community during student health emergencies. The portal allows them to connect with doctors and pharmacies. This simple solution allows them to overcome several challenges related to student health-related documentations, communication with schooling and healthcare community, medicine administration, medical history record maintenance. And enables them to spend more time doing their jobs and caring for students.   Schools nurses contribution to the well being of students must not be overlooked School nurses play an important role in the health and wellbeing of children, with a broad range of duties, from health promotion to support individual pupils with specific conditions. The work of school nurses is essential in supporting children to have a full, active and healthy school life. With such an important role to play, it is vital that more school nurses are recruited and given the given the necessary power and infrastructure to ensure they have the capacity to making the positive contribution to children’s health. EduHealth is a tool that enables them to achieve this.