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Teaching the Teachers: School Health Trainings

“Unexpected” is in the very definition of emergency and planning for the “unexpected” can prove to be a very difficult task.  Children spend over 20% of their waking hours in school and when after-school activities and athletics are added into the mix, students often spend significantly more time at school and school-sponsored events than they do at home.  Families and communities depend on schools to keep students safe in the school setting and appropriately respond to a wide range of potential emergencies.   By definition, an emergency is usually an “unexpected” occurrence or set of circumstances that require immediate action.  Because of the unexpected nature, school nurses are often not the first on the scene or may not be available at all.  For this reason, schools are responsible for preparing faculty and staff to manage various types of emergencies or other urgent situations and when it involves the health of students, school nurses are integral to ensuring adequate training and education.

When planning health trainings for school staff and faculty, school nurses should first check state-mandated training requirements, as well as local or district policies.  It is also important to know your state’s delegation parameters and communicate these clearly to school administration.  The frequency of school health trainings can vary but annual updates to topics and content before students arrive for the first day of the new school year is good practice.  Oftentimes, two different levels of training are provided: general training for school staff indirectly involved with students or a student with a particular medical need; and more intensive with school staff directly involved with students or particular students where individualized care plans are reviewed.  Additionally, there may be specific training standards to consider, such as online versus in-person, or certain credentialing required of the training administrator.  Establishing compliance with all state and district requirements for school-mandated health trainings is an integral component of creating a safe and healthy school environment.

Some of the most commonly mandated general school health trainings include bloodborne pathogens, food allergies, anaphylaxis, seizure management, diabetes, asthma, concussions, CPR, AED, and first aid.  If standards allow, local healthcare providers are often willing to provide education for school staff or can give school nurses resources to perform the training themselves.  Below are other useful links school nurses can use to prepare and present the appropriate trainings (be sure to check with your state guidelines before using!).

Bloodborne Pathogens

Food Allergies/Anaphylaxis (also watch and share MacGill’s food allergy video!)

Seizure Management





Establishing compliance with all state and district requirements for school-mandated health trainings is critical to creating a safe and healthy school environment.  Appropriate training optimizes medical preparedness and helps ensure the full integration of students with special healthcare needs into all school activities while also minimizing stigmatization and is just another one of the million ways school nurses can help support and advocate for the health and safety of their school community.



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