188447 School Nurses and the Dissemination of Public Health Messages

Monday, October 27, 2008

Noor Alsaid Osman, MPH candidate , Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC, DC
Marina S. Moses, DrPH, MS , Center for Risk Science and Public Health, George Washington University SPHHS, Washington, DC
Tee L. Guidotti, MD, MPH , Center for Risk Science and Public Health, George Washington University SPHHS, Washington, DC
According to the Community Ready! program, parents, and those from vulnerable populations in particular, prefer health messages provided through school venues; this includes the school nurse (SN). This study addresses SNs place of employment (POE) and whether POE has an effect on SNs delivery of health preparedness messages. An online search was performed, and the following organizations were contacted; the Virginia/Local Departments of Health (V/LDH), the Virginia National Association of School Nurses( VASN), and the National Association of County and Health Officials (NACCHO). It has been determined that all SNs, regardless of place of employment, are required to adhere to the School Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice. SNs place of employment may vary by county and all are required to have a nursing license. The school board requires SNs to have at least an LPN; attained after a one year training program, a licensing examination, and at least high school diploma. SNs employed by the LDH must have an RN; also attained through a licensing examination, a diploma from an approved nursing program, and at least an associates degree. Comparisons between RNs and LPNs in a smoking cessation program indicated that treatment by LPNs resulted in assessment and assistance in the patients quitting process becoming significantly less likely(OR=0.52 p<=5). According to the School Health Specialist at the VDH, LPN's cannot write care plans, and they may not carry out training sessions. These functions must be performed by an RN. In Virginia, SNs employed by the LHDs are obligated to attend Project Public Health Ready(PPHR- sponsored by NACCHO). A PPHR evaluation showed SNs as more prepared and as having a greater understanding of the meaning of public health preparedness after attendance. This study would suggest that LHD employed nurses are better positioned to receive and disseminate health information.

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify the educational disparities between school nurses employed by the school board, and school nurses employed by the Local Departments of Health. 2) Recognize the need for a re-evaluation of the school nurse employment scheme in Virginia 3) Discuss the role of school nurses in the dessemination of health messages to the community, and thus community preparedness

Keywords: Community-Based Health Promotion, Health Communications

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a graduate research assistant, I have edited manuscripts, performed research, analyzed data, and presented a poster at the Conference on Urban Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.