Online Program

Role of school health services in combating absenteeism

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Erin Maughan, PhD, MS, RN, APHN-BC, FAAN, National Association of School Nurses, Silver Spring, MD
Angela Leasca, University of Maryland, Silver Spring, MD
Background/Significance: Researchers have found that chronic absenteeism leads to lower education achievement, which impacts one’s ability to find gainful employment. Social determinants such as employment, lower socioeconomic status, and education are the root causes of poorer health. Thus chronic absenteeism is a public health issue. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the role of schools, particularly school health services (SHS), have in improving and addressing chronic absenteeism and seat time. Method: After obtaining IRB approval, snowball sampling was utilized to identify SHS who are successfully addressing absenteeism in the schools. Interviews were conducted to learn more about the activities and resources used, strengths/opportunities of the approaches, and the outcomes of such outreach. Results: Successful programs involve a micro- and macro-level approach. This includes ensuring policies are in place and reinforced; it involves changing a culture. Utilizing a team approach that includes administration, SHS, secretaries, teachers, families and students is also key.  School nurses in particular are critical in coordinating efforts, addressing health concerns, assisting families, and improving absenteeism and student seat time. Conclusion Although current evidence supports the use of teams and policies, little research has focused on the role of school nurses in improving absenteeism. Specific examples and practical tips for success by school nurses will be shared. SHS not only impact the health of youth now by addressing absenteeism, but help improve the entire community’s future by impacting social determinants of health.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Explain the role of school health services, particularly, school nurses have in decreasing absences and seat time. Identify new ways to address absenteeism in his/her local schools.

Keyword(s): School-Based Health, Nurses/Nursing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served as co-PI on this study-recruiting participants, collecting and analyzing data. I have been a school nurse for over 15 years, currently serve as the Director of Research for the National Association of School Nurses.
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.

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