The Georgia Department of Public Health, School Health Nursing Program, part of the Office of Nursing within the District and County Operations Division, commits to promoting and protecting the health and learning of the state’s children and youth. The program serves all children of school age attending public and non-public schools in Georgia.
The National Association of School Nurses defines school nursing as a “specialized practice of professional nursing that advances the well-being, academic success and lifelong achievement and health of students. To that end, school nurses facilitate normal development and positive student responses to normal development; promote health and safety, including a healthy environment; intervene with actual and potential health problems; provide case management services; and actively collaborate with others to build student and family capacity for adaptation, self-management, self advocacy, and learning” (NASN, 2010c).
“Public health nursing is the practice of promoting and protecting the health of populations using knowledge from nursing, social, and public health science” (American Public Health Association, Public Health Nursing Section, 1196, p.1).
“Having a full-time school nurse in every school is the best means of ensuring a strong connection with each student’s medical home” (American Academy of Pediatrics, May 2008).
Georgia employs more than 1,600 licensed nurses to provide school nursing services. School nurses in Georgia are employed by a variety of agencies; the majority are employed by local school districts, and the remainder are employed by local health departments or hospitals. Additionally, school nurses are employed by private or religious schools in the state and some state-supported charter schools also employ nurses.
The Georgia Department of Public Health employs a School Health Nurse Director to provide leadership, training, and consultation as it relates to school nursing practice and public health to all health districts, school districts including private and parochial schools, as well as nurses employed as school nurses. Additionally, the director collaborates across program disciplines within the Department of Public Health to promote physical, social, emotional, and educational growth of children and adolescents in the school setting.
Among the goals of the School Nurse Program are to improve the quality of school nursing practice and school health programs, including the health and learning of children and youth.
For more information about this service contact:
Sherry D. Coleman, DNP, RN, CCRC
Deputy Chief Nurse
Office of Nursing/District and County Operations
Georgia Department of Public Health
2 Peachtree Street, N.W., 9th Floor/9-294
Atlanta, GA 30303