As healers, comforters, and role models for children, school nurses do their job well and rise up to the challenge of caring for school students everywhere.

They help improve attendance, enforce federal law, help staff health, and improve academic performance. School nurses don’t always get the recognition they deserve.

School Nurse Day was created to give them celebrate them and thank them for taking care of our children and advocating for improved health services in schools.

History of School Nurse Day

Nurses first became employed in schools in Belgium. In 1873, Brussels became the first city to employ a school physician as well as install city-wide school inspections.

While cities such as London had been initiating the beginnings of school nurses it wouldn’t be until 1902 that New York City got its first one. Lina Rogers became the first school nurse to work in New York City schools. She helped decrease the rate of communicable diseases and absenteeism in the United States.

Since the first addition of school nurses during the 1940s and 50s schools have put a focus on the health of their students.  The task has fallen on nurses as well as teachers, students, and physicians to create a health education curriculum.

School Nurse Day began with the formation of the Department of School Nurses. In 1968, the National Education Association created the department to dedicate the advancement of school nursing practices across the country.

In 1974, President Ford proclaimed School Nurse Day as a holiday for everyone to celebrate. Since the formation of the department and its holiday, school nurses have been recognized and celebrated for their continuous effort in the health and well-being of students everywhere.

School Nurse Day is celebrated through educational pamphlets, presentations, and through thank yous from everyone who loves and appreciates what nurses do in everyday life.

In times such as a natural disaster or a man-made mass accident, all kinds of nurses are revered for their undying care more than ever. Their watchful eye and dedication is nothing new. The very first world-recognized nurse, Florence Nightingale (also known affectionately as ‘the Lady with the Lamp’) is a symbol of the kind reassuring soul.

During the Crimean War, she transformed and even revolutionized nursing. She went from patient to patient in the middle of the night, to check on them and help soldiers write letters home. She brought a personal touch to caring as well as more sophistication. She set up the first secular nursing school in the world, which pioneered the field for many decades after. She showed that nurses could administer complex treatments and not need a doctor to react to a patient’s moving condition for them. There are hundreds of thousands of nurse Nightingales across the world and on this day, we remind them of our eternal gratitude. 

How to celebrate School Nurse Day

Show them that you appreciate their giving them a thank you card. Support your school nurses by advocating for better pay, better working conditions, and more presence in the school system.

Give them gifts such as stuffed animals, jewelry, or any personal gift you can think of. Give them some extra money to help with school health supplies.

Teach people about nursing, how school nurses came to be, and help inspire people to become school nurses through seminars and pamphlets. Share with your friends and family about this holiday and tell them about why school nurses are important to everyday life.

Your children could brighten the school nurse’s day by giving them a ‘thank you’ card. Something as simple as a verbal show of gratitude, shaking their hand or giving them a hug, will show the nurse she or he is well-loved by those in their care. A classroom surprise party would be fantastic! You and all the other parents should get together and work with the teachers and leadership of your school, to throw a 1-hour party for the school nurses where your children go to learn. Everyone can chip in to buy them a little something so they will remember this day forever. 

Here’s a thought, how about organizing a day for the school nurse to teach the children basic first aid techniques? Your children will better understand how to take care of themselves and their friends while experiencing how tough the school nurse’s job really is. 

Working with a school, your children can see what it’s like to follow the School Nurse throughout the day. The world needs more nurses. School Nurse Day could be a life-changing moment for your child to see firsthand how healing and treatments work. Your son or daughter might grow up to be a nurse one day, because of that one day, they helped the school nurse to treat sick and hurting pupils and take care of their health and well-being. 

At-home education

You can still learn about what a school nurse does while at home. Searching for educational videos on websites such as YouTube is a window into a world of free education. Some school nurses also have their own channels which they operate for the sake of the viewing public. You can leave helpful and uplifting comments to said nurses and show them how appreciated they are this day.

If you have small children, watching the videos along with them would be a great yet unseen gift to those nurses at their schools. Just knowing what kind of pressures they’re under and how meticulous their role is, will help children understand their school nurse’s responsibilities more in-depth.

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