The Journal of School Nursing, Ahead of Print.
School nurses represent cost-effective investments in students’ health and educational success. Alternative high schools (AHSs) serve an understudied population of youth who are at risk for school dropout and face numerous social inequities, heightening their risk for poor health outcomes. In this two-phase explanatory sequential mixed methods study, we examined school nurse staffing in Texas AHSs. Findings suggest Texas AHSs face understaffing for familiar reasons common across districts (e.g., lack of funding), but also reveal potential deeper inequities. Quantitative findings indicate 71% of Texas AHSs have some form of nursing support, most often an on-call or part-time nurse. Qualitative findings support and enrich this finding with insights into the negative consequences of not having a full-time nurse, indiscriminate approaches to staffing AHSs, and how AHSs can be the only school in the district without a full-time nurse. Altogether, our findings reveal opportunities to better support AHSs with adequate nursing support.
SAGE Publications: The Journal of School Nursing: Table of Contents