Visits to the School Nurse by the At-Risk Student Versus the Non At-Risk Student
Moeckly, Eleanor L.
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The Problem; The purpose of this study was to compare students who were defined as at-risk and those who were not at-risk to determine if there was a significant difference in proportion of visits to the school nurse. Procedure: For each initial health related daily visit to the school nurse by students in grades kindergarten through twelfth, a mark was placed in an "at-risk" column or a "non at -risk" column. The at-risk students were determined using three instruments: information obtained from parents at registration prior to the beginning of school; the school nurse's daily log; and a checklist containing 13 at-risk categories completed by classroom teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators. The study was done over a five month period consisting of 95 school days in a public school system with 1,474 students. Finding: During the visits to the school nurse, significant differences were observed between the at-risk and non at-risk student. The at-risk students visited the school nurse for health related concerns more often than the non at-risk students. Conclusions: The need for early identification and intervention of the at-risk student is apparent and necessary and can only be accomplished by a team approach of educators and school health personnel. Therefore, the importance of the school nurse in educational settings to aid in the identification and intervention of the at-risk student is evident and must be addressed by the public. Recommendations: Recommendations for further research include: (1) replication of this study using a larger sample, (2) a longitudinal study on the effectiveness of early recognition and intervention and counseling of the at-risk student, (3) a study to determine what specific category or gender of at-risk student is seen most often by the school nurse, and (4) a study of each grade level or age group to determine if there is a difference in presenting symptomotology between the at-risk student and the non at-risk student when visiting the school nurse.
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