1. Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN, news director

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It was 1902 when Lillian Wald convinced the New York City Board of Education to conduct an experiment: they would place one of her Henry Street Settlement nurses in four public schools for one month, at no cost to the city, to prove that a nurse could reduce student absenteeism caused by communicable disease. And so Lina Rogers Struthers became the first school nurse in a pilot project so successful that at month's end the board hired 12 more nurses. School absenteeism lessened 90% within a year.


On October 1, 2002, the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) marked the 100th anniversary of school nursing with a celebration at the Henry Street Settlement in New York City, in the building that Wald received from financier and philanthropist Jacob Schiff in 1895. School nurses came from around the country, including Barbara Franklin from Omaha, Nebraska, who won the centennial essay contest sponsored by the NASN (see One School Nurse, One Small Child, page 103).


As did their predecessors, the estimated 58,000 U.S. school nurses treat head lice and eye infections, but they also perform screenings, assess mental health, administer immunizations, treat minor illnesses and injuries, provide care that enables children with chronic illnesses and disabilities to attend school, and assist the nation's 52 million schoolchildren in innumerable ways. Still, many schools don't have full-time nurses; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently suggested that a nurse in every school would allow for better asthma management in children. And it's one objective of Healthy People 2010 that there be an increase in the number of schools that have a nurse-student ratio of 1:750. The NASN considers the issue a priority. For more information about school nursing, go to; for information about the Henry Street Settlement, go to Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, news director



Figure.  Antonia Nov... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. [black up pointing small triangle] Antonia Novello, MD, New York State health commissioner, left, with Linda C. Wolfe, RN, president of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN).

The CDC calls for more school nurses

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention entitled Strategies for Addressing Asthma Within a Coordinated School Health Program outlined various recommendations to help schools better address the needs of children with asthma. Among these was the recommendation that schools "provide a full-time registered nurse all day, every day for each school." To access the full report, visit


One School Nurse, One Small Child

A Nebraska RN makes a critical difference.

To Victoria Combs, grandmother-turned-parent of 10-year-old Antoinette Plater, school nurse Barbara Franklin was a "god-send." Combs credits Franklin as "the reason Antoinette can go to school like a normal child."


Antoinette, a fifth-grader at Pinewood Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska, has had complex conditions: she has undergone liver transplantation and has had asthma and lymphoma. Through it all, she has attended school under the watchful eye of Franklin, who closely monitors Antoinette's health, looking for early indications of asthma and treatment side effects.


Franklin wrote about her work with Antoinette for an essay contest sponsored by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN); Franklin won the contest, and Antoinette was named the NASN's "Centennial Child." Franklin, Antoinette, and Antoinette's grandparents were honored at the centennial celebration of school nursing at the Henry Street Settlement in New York City in October.


Franklin, who now works at a different school, said at the celebration, "I am proud to be a school nurse and honored to represent what school nurses do everyday. We help children stay healthy, and healthy children make better learners."



Figure.  Barbara Fra... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. [black up pointing small triangle] Barbara Franklin, left, and fifth-grader Antoinette Plater.