Give school nurses authority to do what’s best for the kids in their care.

Why does this matter? Imagine a child who has asthma. One afternoon, this child goes to the school nurse because he is having trouble breathing. The school nurse helps administer medication, but the child is slow to respond. Using her best clinical judgment in this situation, the nurse calls 911.

Shortly after the medics arrive, they decide to transport the child to the Emergency Room.

Upon receiving the ER bill, the child’s parents get upset that the child was sent to the hospital. They think the school nurse should have continued to care for the child without calling medics. The parents complain to the principal who supervises the school nurse – and the principal disciplines the school nurse for exercising her clinical judgment as a Registered Nurse.

This bill clarifies what acts should be solely determined and carried out by a licensed registered nurse – such as deciding when to administer medication or calling 911 for emergency medical assistance.

SHB 1346: School Nurse Supervision

April 20, 2017: Signed into law by Governor Inslee

WSNA and the School Nurse Organization of Washington (SNOW) strongly support this bill that:

  • Clarifies supervisory role of non-clinical school administrators, stating that school administrators may not interfere with nursing care provided by an RN working in a school setting – but may supervise an RN in all other aspects of employment.
  • Clarifies that the “practice of nursing” includes, but is not limited to: administration of medication pursuant to a medication or treatment order and the decision to summon emergency medical assistance.

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