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Importance of Health Services in Schools
School health services are defined as “The procedures used by physicians, dentists, nurses, teachers , etc, that are designed to appraise, protect, and promote optimum health of students and school personnel through planned programmes. The overall objective of the school health programme is to ensure that every child is as healthy as possible so that he can obtain the full benefit from his education.
School health services staff can help all students with preventive care such as flu shots and vision and hearing screening, as well as acute and emergency care. Qualified professionals such as school nurses, nurse practitioners, dentists, health educators, physicians, physician assistants, and allied health personnel provide these services.
For students with chronic health conditions, school nurses and other health care providers play a large role in the daily management of their conditions. School health services staff also are responsible for coordinating care by communicating with the student’s family and health care providers so that they can stay healthy and ready to learn.
Importance of health services in schools:
1. Increase school attendance.
2. Help eligible students enroll in health insurance.
3. Connect students’ family members with health coverage.
4. Provide reimbursable health services in schools.
5. Offer services that support at-risk students.
6. Promote healthy school practices through nutrition, physical activity, and health education.
7. Improve wellness policies and health programs.
8. Build local partnerships to support expanded health services.
9. Reduce emergency room visits.
10. Create a positive school climate that fosters learning.
The Need for School Health Services
Since schools bring large numbers of students and staff together, prudence dictates that as in any workplace a system must be in place to deal with such issues as first aid, medical emergencies, and detection of contagious conditions that could spread a group situation. Unlike other workplaces, however, a system must also be established in schools to provide routine administration of medications, since students especially young students may not be able to assume this responsibility themselves, and concern for substance abuse has led to policies in most schools that prohibit older students from administrating their own medication.
Laws pertaining to special education students require that schools provide the services necessary for these students to receive an appropriate education. Such services might include monitoring vital signs, changing dressings, catheterization, tube feeding, or administering oxygen. The school must also provide services to non-special education students with chronic health problems such as asthma, diabetes, and seizures in order that they can be educated. Schools have little or no choice in providing such services, for they are dictated either by legislative mandate or by precautions pertaining to risks and liability.
Services such as screenings and immunizations are also widely accepted as belonging in the schools, with the motivation having to do more with access, efficiency, and economies of scale than with liability. Since schools are where children spend a significant portion of their time, schools are seen by many observers as the logical site for services that are based on public health principles of population-based prevention. There is some debate, however, about the relative benefits and disadvantages of a population-based versus a selective high-risk approach, which targets preventive services only toward children at high risk.
What is Health Education?
Health education is the set of philosophies and methodologies that educate the general public, healthcare practitioners, and communities about anything related to health. It draws from disciplines that include biology, environmental science, ecology, psychology, physical science, and medical science. It is used to promote good health as well as prevent disease, disability, and early death.
Health education provides general knowledge for health promotion and disease prevention. In addition, it inspires adolescents to acquire healthy beliefs and knowledge and adopt healthy lifestyle choices. Health education includes health services, physical education, psychological services, nutrition and food programs, health promotion and a healthy environment, disease prevention, etc.
Parents are always more concerned about their children's academic education, including - reading, writing, and learning. A comprehensive health education program plays a crucial role in a child's education, from kindergarten to high school. Health education teaches children physical, mental, social, and psychological health (overall well-being). It helps students to make healthy choices and avoid risky behaviors. Health education training mainly focuses on preserving health, avoiding illnesses, and training students to make healthier decisions in their lives.