The History of School Nursing

The year 2002 marked the 100th anniversary of school nursing in America. In 1902, Lillian Wald, founder of the Henry Street Settlement, assigned Linda Rogers to be the first school nurse in New York City. Her task was to make a difference in the school absentee rate in 1 month. Her success was astonishing, and thus began the specialty practice of school nursing. Throughout the following years, school nurses and the practice of school nursing evolved to meet the changing needs of students, families, communities, and society.

The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) defined school nursing as a specialized practice of professional nursing that advances the well-being, academic success and lifelong achievement of student. To that end, school nurses facilitate positive student responses to normal development; promote health and safety; intervene in actual and potential health problems; provide case management services; and actively collaborate with others to build student and family capacity for adaption, self-management, self-advocacy, and learning.