Services provided for students to appraise, protect, and promote health.
Health problems often hinder a student's ability to learn. Growing numbers of children have health conditions that affect their school attendance and classroom performance. Some students must take medicines, others experience acute illnesses or injuries, and still others have special health needs. The Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which requires schools to serve all students, mandates that schools provide services to enable disabled students to attend school. School health services providers are in a position to identify health problems for which they can make referrals for further diagnosis and treatment. Because most children over the age of five attend school, schools are ideal places for screening for health problems such as vision and hearing problems that can interfere with learning. Preventive services also include checking on immunizations and ensuring that they are up-to-date. Health services providers can offer counseling about healthy lifestyle choices that addresses issues such as the use of tobacco or alcohol, eating disorders, adequate physical activity, or sexual behaviors. Health care providers also can encourage parents to be role models for their children, plan health-promoting activities that involve the whole family, and discuss with their children the value of healthy behaviors. In some communities school health services often fill the gap when health care is inaccessible either because community health services are limited or unavailable to students who are poor or uninsured.
Find out more about school health centers by visiting these Web sites:
Also visit the National Association of School Nurses Web site at http://www.nasn.org.
These sites all have links to other useful resources.