Schools' Role in Systems of Care for CSHCN
To obtain information on the experiences of school personnel, especially school nurses, in working with and caring for CSHCN; and to identify recommendations that would improve the integration of schools as part of the system of care for CSHCN.
The findings from this study reflected data from a statewide school nurse advisory council, key informant interviews and a survey of nearly one thousand school nurses in California. Only 43% of California school districts report having school nurse personnel, and on average among those with a school nurse that individual had responsibility for six schools. Consequently, 1.2 million students had no access to a school nurse. Schools may often be unaware of children with chronic health problems unless those problems directly interfere with education and thus those children will have an IEP. In the absence of school nurses, other school staff members must assume health care responsibilities for which they are not only unlicensed/certified but also untrained. Schools generally lack established communications with community child health care providers who could provide some backup to staff. Some of the existing problems can be addressed by district supervisors or the State Department of Education; others may require legislative action.