Tips for School Nurses
School Nurse: Tips for Ensuring Educational Access and Success for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness
- Be familiar with common characteristics of children and youth who are homeless. Common signals are attendance at several schools, poor hygiene, gaps in learning, transportation problems, poor health nutrition, and a lack of preparedness for class.
- Verify immunization records and, if necessary, refer the students to the local health department for any needed immunization.
- Observe and alert the principal to any serious medical concern.
- Ask about glasses; the child may need them but not have any.
- Make sure the student enrolls in your school’s free meal program. Homeless students are automatically eligible for free school meals.
- Assist the parent with the completion of medical records.
- Remember that sending a sick student “home” may not be a safe or stable place for a child or youth who is experiencing homelessness. Help families determine options for their children, should they become ill.
- Contact the school district’s local homeless education liaison so that additional services can be coordinated.
- Follow-up with students sent to obtain immunizations or physicals.
- Contact the parent or shelter if a student is absent for three or more days.
- Develop reliable, accessible resources for medical, dental, and eye care.
- Sponsor a PTA health night.
- Show that you care about the student!