Public School Nursing Practice in the United States

J Sch Nurs. 2018 Jun;34(3):232-244. doi: 10.1177/1059840517752456. Epub 2018 Jan 17.


School nursing practice has changed dramatically over the past 20 years, yet few nationally representative investigations describing the school nursing workforce have been conducted. The National School Nurse Workforce Study describes the demographic and school nursing practice patterns among self-reported public school nurses and the number and full-time equivalent (FTE) positions of all school nurses in the United States. Using a random sample stratified by public/private, region, school level, and urban/rural status from two large national data sets, we report on weighted survey responses of 1,062 public schools. Additional questions were administered to estimate the school nurse population and FTEs. Findings reported illustrate differences by strata in public school nurse demographics, practice patterns, and nursing activities and tasks. We estimate approximately 132,300 self-identified practicing public and private school nurses and 95,800 FTEs of school nurses in the United States. Research, policy, and school nursing practice implications are discussed.

Keywords: demographics; full-time equivalents; nursing activities; school nurse numbers; school nursing practice; workforce.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nursing Administration Research
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses' / organization & administration*
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses' / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Health Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Public Health Nursing / statistics & numerical data
  • School Nursing / organization & administration*
  • School Nursing / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States