School Nurse and Student Development: A Vital Connection - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1428 Words
Date:  2023-01-17


It is vital that for a school nurse to understand the cultural and the stage of development of the students when providing care to them. Children of different ages have different abilities and needs, and therefore, the school nurse has to accord each of them appropriate care. From the preschool age up to adolescent students, they exhibit variations in their motor, cognitive, language, psychosocial, or moral development. These development cues bring into question the issue of identifying the need for an asthma inhaler by a student and the ability to use the inhaler.

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This paper goes on to review the healthy development of preschool, school-aged, and adolescence groups. As mentioned, it is essential for the school nurse to be well acquainted with each of these groups as his or her professional environment leads demands for it. Primarily, the stage of development of a child will determine whether he or she is old enough and competent enough to have and use an asthma inhaler. A thorough examination of children at each level is necessary to conclude the matter. Furthermore, each child is different, and as much as age could be a factor, the school nurse has to properly analyze each aspect of development for a child to be allowed to possess an asthma inhaler in school.

It is also of importance that the school nurse familiarizes with the legislation that governs and takes care of issues that surround school health. The paper will go on to discuss the relevant law (Act 187) on children possessing and using asthma medication while in school. The paper will also discuss matters of responsible behavior, immediate notification of the school nurse after use of the inhaler and the school's right to deny the privilege of possessing an inhaler.

Preschool Children

Preschool going children consist of those of age three to five years. The school nurse has the opportunity to observe the development of children in this category over some time. It is crucial for the school nurse to be keen on the motor skills expected of various age groups and be able to pinpoint possible lateness in the onset of these developmental cues. Early identification can aid the student to obtain services that can help the student reach his or her potential (Selekman, 2013). Critical evaluation, especially of the cognitive skill of the child is necessary to be able to judge the child's ability to have his or her inhaler in school.

A child of age three years has developed balance and therefore can walk well, jump off a 12 inches high step with both feet and by age four walk down steps with alternate feet. Cognitively, they have developed the ability to think logically, viewing events from their perspective but being egocentric make them difficult to accept the views of others. Their viewpoint is of the moment and cannot fully comprehend future events. The language development, on the other hand, is a reflection of their cognitive development. For preschool children, they can speak in full sentences and do ask lots of questions. Their speech is understandable by any adult. School nurse can identify speech difficulties or disorders at this stage (Selekman, 2013).

Initially, enrolling in school is accompanied by feelings of separation anxiety, and there is a need to establishing a routine to help allay the child's fears. The development level of preschool children shows that they do not fully have the capacity of having their asthma medication otherwise unless a child that is seemingly responsible has to be observed individually by the school nurse and maturity level determined. Mostly five years old and above may have acquired the appropriate level of developmental stature to be able to independently possess an asthma medication or inhaler in the school environment.

School-Aged Students

On reaching age 6, the child is now of school age, and this category runs up to age 12. By this age, a child has improved his motor skills, including writing and typing. Improved motor skills are, therefore, more evident. Ability to concentrate and focus on a task for extended periods is achieved (Selekman, 2013).

Cognitively, school-aged children are still egocentric but start to think logically. They understand concepts such as cause-and-effect, numbers, and time, and the concept of conservation of matter and reversibility. They can, therefore, adjust their decisions basing on the results they expect. As such they participate in simple science experiments At this age, introducing a subject is best done using various approaches such as a narrative, a story, rhyme or music to establish a base and frame of reference in learning the lesson taught (Selekman, 2013).

The vocabulary of school-aged children has massive development to contain from 8,000 to 14,000 words. They can come up with conclusions according to what is spoken and therefore comprehend more than just the words spoken. They can change the language according to their environment and audience, and they contextualize the meanings of words (Selekman, 2013). At this age group, other than the presence of significant disabilities or impairment on the child, they are mature enough to possess and use an asthma inhaler. They are old enough to understand its use and can be trained to use it.

Adolescent Students

This group of children aged 12 to 18 years has highly improved motor skills and have higher reaction times as compared to the other groups. Their cognitive development is increased, and thus, they can deal with the past, present, and future. Their ability to analyze, synthesize, reason, and come to logical conclusions has increased. As they continue in their development, they become more grounded in their ability to come up with hypothetical situations, predict the outcomes, and reflect on them. They can come up with several possibilities given a situation. They do begin to anticipate the probable results of actions (Selekman, 2013).

This group of students is the best to teach health matters as they want facts and explanations rather than simple and plain commands. In as much as they may be aware of the consequences of certain decisions, they tend to make inappropriate choices. Observing and discussing with other experienced members of the society and real-life experiences helps them in learning (Selekman, 2013).

With the innate comprehension of the principle of causality and the things operate; adolescents have an interest in the workings of the body and how to stay healthy (Selekman, 2013). With this level of curiosity and responsibility observed in this group, it is quite evident the school can only place little restriction on a student requiring an asthma inhaler in school. They are mature enough to recognize the importance of the medication and the ramifications of recklessness.

State of Pennsylvania Law on Student's Asthma Medication in School

Related to the need for possession and self-administration of asthma medication in school through the asthma inhalers in case of an asthma attack, the State of Pennsylvania has enacted a law (Act 187) that compels schools to come up with a written policy that allows for children to carry (possess) and use (self-administer) their asthma medication (DOH, 2019).

The Act requires that schools provide a copy of their policy. For each school policy should state that the child must: (a) be able to prove the ability to use the inhaler, (b) conduct himself or herself appropriately in a well behaved manner while using the inhaler, and (c) after each use of the inhaler to notify the school nurse immediately (DOH, 2019). The conditions help to regulate and monitor the use of the medication in school. In case of abuse or ignorance of established policies on the part the child, the school has the right to deny or restrict the possession and use of the inhaler in school.

School policy may require a written statement from the child's health care provider having the necessary medication information (unless confidential) and appropriate emergency responses in case of severe reactions. The statement should also include if the child is qualified and able to self-administer the medication.

Furthermore, a written statement from the parent or guardian that the school entity and the school employees to adhere to the order of the physician. The parent's statement does relieve the school entity or any school employee of responsibility for results of the ordered medication as authorized by the parent. (PA General Assembly, 2019).


DOH. (2019). Inhalers in Schools. Retrieved from

PA General Assembly. (2019). 2004 Act 187 - PA General Assembly. Retrieved from

Selekman, J. (2013). School nursing: A comprehensive text. R. A. Shannon, & C. F. Yonkaitis (Eds.). Philadelphia, PA: FA Davis Company.

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School Nurse and Student Development: A Vital Connection - Essay Sample. (2023, Jan 17). Retrieved from

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