The University’s nursing program is expanding, adding a new area of study this year in school health nursing, with plans underway to add health care law, “informatics” for computer science, and gerontology concentrations soon.
No longer relegated to feeling warm foreheads and doling out Band-Aids, school nurses are now asked to administer daily medications, monitor immunization records, make assessments and referrals—essentially be a health clinic administrator.
“That’s not what they’re prepared for, but are often forced into that role,” says Hilreth Lanig, the program’s developer.
Director Susan Schmidt expects the state to approve the new track this year, allowing graduates to be licensed as school health nurses capable of managing school-based health services and monitoring students’ health.
“A child who comes to school hungry with not enough sleep is going to fail the test that day,” Schmidt says. “The school nurse coordinator is a much broader and responsible role than the traditional school nurse.”