Our School Nurses Are Ready as Students Start the New School Year

School Nurses in a room watching a presentation

Keeping students healthy and ready to learn is the goal of more than 200 School Nurses and School Health staff as they begin another year in the health rooms in Palm Beach County’s public schools. This service, provided by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, offers care to more than 170,000 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

This year, the Health Care District added a Certified Diabetes Educator to help students with diabetes succeed academically and socially. The Certified Diabetes Educator will work with School Nurses as well as students and families to help students follow their diabetes management plans.

“Our School Nurses respond to a wide range of health issues, from injuries and illness to seizures,” said Darcy J. Davis, Chief Executive Officer of the Health Care District. “We are excited about the addition of a Certified Diabetes Educator. It adds an important new element to our mission to provide quality health care to students.”

Every school day, our registered nurses provide nursing care, medically-complex care planning and case management, and communicable disease surveillance. School Health technicians conduct vision and hearing screenings. The School Nurses identify conditions, some of which have been life threatening, that might otherwise go unnoticed and they steer students and their families to treatments.

School Nurses training to use tourniquets

“The Health Care District’s School Nurses handled over 342,000 student visits in their health rooms during the 2017-2018 school year,” said Ginny Keller, RN, MBA, NCSN, Director of the School Health Program. “Our School Health staff provides a critical access point to care during the school day, especially for students with chronic conditions likes asthma and diabetes.”

Karen Harris, Donald E. Fennoy II, and Ginny Keller

Chronic conditions, mental health and communicable diseases were among the topics covered at this year’s School Health education day on August 8th, 2018 at William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens. Donald E. Fennoy II, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools for the School District of Palm Beach County, delivered a personal welcome to the School Health staff as they reconvened before the start of the school year and he thanked them for being on the frontline of student care.

“I think as the world around us continues to change, you’re going to become even more critical to us,” Dr. Fennoy said in his welcome address. “We’re going to need your expertise.”

The Health Care District’s School Health Program, which staffs registered nurses in health rooms at 166 public schools, has become a model program and, for many students, their School Nurse may be the only medical provider they see all year. The School Health staff and nurses work independently in nearly 170 public schools and gather twice a year for training and health care updates. The Health Care District’s School Health program partners with the School District of Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Health Palm Beach County.

For more information, visit www.hcdpbc.org/schoolhealth