Heads Up: Communication Is Key in School Nurses' Preparedness for Facilitating "Return to Learn" Following Concussion

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2016 Mar;55(3):228-35. doi: 10.1177/0009922815592879. Epub 2015 Jun 29.


Background: Recent literature advocates for a school academic team, including school nurses, to support concussed students' return to the classroom. This study aimed to assess the current understanding and practices of a sample of school nurses regarding the concept of "return to learn" in concussed students.

Methods: Cross-sectional survey of New England school nurses.

Results: The greatest barrier to the school nurses' functioning within the academic rehabilitation team for students with concussion was "inadequate communication with the provider that diagnosed the concussion" (73%). Of the 151 school nurses surveyed, 19% felt that they did not have the training necessary for this role. Other barriers included "inadequate concussion training" (38%) and "inadequate time necessary to care for a student with concussion" (30%).

Conclusions: By identifying specific gaps in knowledge and challenges at the school level, these results inform interdisciplinary medical teams about the importance of educating and facilitating effective "return to learn" academic plans.

Keywords: concussion; head injury; mild traumatic brain injury; pediatrics; return to learn; return to school; school nurses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Concussion / nursing*
  • Brain Concussion / rehabilitation
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Male
  • New England
  • School Nursing / education*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching