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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 2, 2008

CONTACT
Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287 or jeanne.atkinson@dhhs.ne.gov

 

School Nurses Make Important Contributions

Note: Sound bites on this topic are available at: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/audio.aspx

Lincoln – The services that school nurses provide are vital, and National School Nurse Day on May 7 is a time to recognize them, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

School Nurse Day falls during National Nurses Week, May 6 through 12, which celebrates contributions all nurses make to healthy communities.

"The contributions school nurses make are clear," said Jackie Miller, DDS, Chief Administrator for the Community Health Section in the Department's Division of Public Health.

Dr. Miller said school health screenings help identify the child who might need further evaluation for hearing, vision or dental concerns that can interfere with learning. "How we respond to the emergence of obesity, rising rates of blood pressure, diabetes and asthma among a school-aged population will determine the health and well-being of generations to come," she said.

"School health programs have changed a lot from an era when school nurses weighed students, took temperatures, cleaned up scraped knees, and kept aspirin handy," says Kathy Karstings with the Division of Public Health. "In addition, they now ensure that each child is immunized, identify ill and infectious children, and promote infection control measures. School closures due to outbreaks of illness can have ripple effects throughout an entire community."

There are approximately 275 school nurses in Nebraska.

School health professionals from across the state are invited to attend the Annual School Health Conference in Grand Island on June 8 through 10. Nebraska First Lady Sally Ganem, a former school administrator, will open the conference on June 9. The conference focuses on allowing every child to do their best in school in a safe, healthy environment.

Sponsored by DHHS in partnership with others, the conference’s theme is "Caring for Children Today, Tomorrow and into the Future." Conference topics include crisis preparedness and response, autism, dental health, nutrition and wellness. Continuing education credit for nurses is offered. The conference brochure is available at www.dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/schoolhealth.aspx

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