School Nurse Role in Providing School Health Services

Reaching Out a Solution

In the course of a high-school athletic event, a person experienced a cardiac arrest. As time was essential, the coach of the home team rushed to the medical office to bring an automatic emergency defibrillator (AED). Nevertheless, the appliance was not at the expected location, which aggravated the risk for the spectator. Fortunately, an emergency team arrived promptly and saved the person. The AED was discovered several days later locked by the school’s custodian. The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue in terms of risk and potential solutions from a school nurse’s point of view.

What Is the Issue?

The issue in the described situation consists of the fact that the school’s automatic emergency defibrillator was not available for use when it was needed. Cardiac Arrest is extremely serious, making time a matter of life and death. Andersen et al. (2018) say that the duration of resuscitation in such cases is considered to correlate negatively with the expected outcome. In other words, the longer it takes to perform necessary measures, the higher the chances of death become. In this case, the AED was not ready for use in case of emergency, which put a person’s life at risk.

Is It My Issue, and Can I Solve It?

A school nurse plays a role of paramount importance in the specific institution of education. Generally, nurses are the most numerous health care practitioner, which highlights their crucial role (Groenwald & Eldridge, 2020). Holmes et al. (2016) emphasize the importance of school nurses in the creation of positive biopsychosocial health for children in the educational environment. Nevertheless, the area of nurse’s expertise extends beyond students, comprising all elements of the schooling system. Providing a safe environment for the visitors of school events is also implied by this role, which is why the unavailability of the AED is a nurse’s issue. The nurse can solve it, although external help is required from other colleagues

Is This the Real Issue or Merely a Symptom of a Larger One?

While the absence of the AED is a serious problem itself, it can be viewed within the greater context. The appliance was not ready for use, when it was needed, due to it being locked in the custodian’s closet. The situation had been similar for some time, only being revealed when a necessity emerged. It is possible that the school wanted to keep the expensive device safe, relying on the overall low probability of its use. It stems from a larger issue of incorrect risk assessment and the desire to protect the school’s property at all costs.

Does It Need an Immediate Solution, or Can It Wait?

Even though the AED was used for the first time in a while, the possibility remains that it will be needed once more. Cardiac arrests are a topical issue for today’s health care, considering the incidence rate and risks. Moreover, the incident suggests that there might be other important items and devices locked away by the school’s administration. In the discussed scenario, the emergency squad’s timely arrival saved the life of the patient, but it will be unwise to hope that it will be the same next time. Since the “next time” may occur at any moment, it is indispensable to take urgent measures to fix the issue.

Is It Likely to Go Away by Itself?

The problem under examination is not likely to go away by itself. As mentioned earlier, the school management incorrectly assessed the risks and concluded that the cost and probability of having the appliance stolen or damaged outweighed the risk of it being unavailable. Spoken differently, it was assumed the AED will only be used in the worst case, hoping it will never happen. The decision has already been made, and the lack of action will not change the situation.

Can I Risk Ignoring It?

As discussed in the previous section, the situation is not likely to improve without practical steps toward resolving it. Accordingly, ignoring the problem is highly dangerous, especially in the context of school nurses’ duties. Disch (2020) states the nurses’ involvement in policymaking contributes to positive results on all levels. Therefore, similar logic dictates that, if the nurse ignores the issue, the situation will only become worse. If the problem is not addressed as soon as possible, the nurse’s primary objective of a safe environment will not be attained. Whenever the AED is needed, yet unavailable once more, a negative outcome may occur, which is a risk no nurse can afford to take.

What Are the Possible Solutions? Are There Risks to These Solutions?

The list of possible solutions must comprise effective measures that can be implemented in a short period. First of all, the range of people who have access to the AED must be broader. Ideally, the appliance should be openly available to anyone who happens to witness an incident. However, there are certain risks related to this strategy, which, in turn, correspond with the primary factor that contributed to the issue in the first place. The AED is important, yet expensive, and keeping it in open access within the school environment can lead to the device being stolen or damaged.

What Steps Would You Need to Take to Solve the Issue?

Several practical steps are required to eliminate the aforementioned risks. Firstly, the AED, as well as other potentially locked medical equipment, must be removed from the custodian’s closet. It is theoretically possible to choose the opposite way by leaving the device where it is while giving qualified members of the faculty the key. Nevertheless, there might be other important objects in the closet, which should not be as accessible as an AED. At the same time, people must be informed of the device’s whereabouts and use in case it is required once more. To improve the results, the nurse can conduct an AED use training for colleagues, as well.

Does Anyone Else at The School Need to Be Involved in The Solution?

The school’s management may be reluctant to enhance access to medical equipment, but the nurse must explain the importance of such measures to their colleagues. As a matter of fact, the proposed measures are only possible through close cooperation with the school’s management, starting from the principal. As an effective manager, the latter must serve as the role model for the rest of the school’s personnel, being in the vanguard of positive change. In addition, most teachers and school workers must be trained to perform first aid in case of emergency, which also demands a certain level of interprofessional cooperation.

Where Is the Power Leverage in the School to Reach the Preferred Solution?

Overall, the preferred solution is unlikely to be reached without effort, which is why certain power leverage must be utilized. Within the schooling context, a nurse’s range of power sources is limited, but there are still several options. First of all, as the issue concerns public health, the nurse must resort to their expert power, since they have the largest amount of medical knowledge. This approach can be combined with the information aspect, as the nurse possesses the aforementioned knowledge required to improve the situation. Simultaneously, the ability to convince people around an individual is a great advantage, as well, which is why the power of persuasion should not be ignored.


Andersen, L. W., Grossestreuer, A. V., & Donnino, M. W. (2018). “Resuscitation time bias”—A unique challenge for observational cardiac arrest research. Resuscitation, 125, 79–82.

Disch, J. (2020). Nursing leadership in policy formation. Policies in Nursing, 55(1), 4-10.

Groenwald, S. L., & Eldridge, C. (2020). Politics, power, and predictability of nursing care. Policies in Nursing, 55(1), 16-32. Web.

Holmes, B. W., Allison, M., Ancona, R., Attisha, E., Beers, N., De Pinto, C., Gorski, P., Kjolhede, P., Lerner, M., Weiss-Harrison, A., & Young, T. (2016). Role of the school nurse in providing school health services. Pediatrics, 137(6). Web.