The School Wellness Nurse: A Model for Bridging Gaps In School Wellness Programs
Glenda Avery, Teresa Johnson, Misty Cousins, Bernita Hamilton
Incidence of pediatric overweight continues to pose significant national health threats due to associated co-morbid, chronic conditions, including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and others. Interventions to address health behaviors of children often focus on the school environment because of the opportunity to have an impact on child health through nutrition education and optimization of the school food and physical activity environments. Federally mandated school wellness policies provide schools with clear objectives to address poor health behaviors of their students. Unfortunately, these policies are largely ineffective because of identified gaps in their administration. Competing school and community factors further fragment their implementation. To bridge the gaps between wellness policy development and implementation, a school wellness nurse model is proposed. The role of the school wellness nurse serves to weave health interventions into the fabric of the school and community environments – displacing behaviors and policies inconsistent with national health goals to reduce incidence of overweight.