Date of Graduation

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Nursing

Advisor

Kelly Vowell Johnson

Reader

Cathy Hale

Second Reader

Marilou Shreve

Abstract

Background:

There are 74.5 million children in the United States, 17.1 million currently or have previously dealt with a mental disorder (Children’s Mental Health, 2015). Unfortunately, the negative stigma associated with mental health often causes those affected to not seek treatment. School nurses are on the front line of public health problems and deliver safe, effective evidence-based practice to their communities. To rebuild our broken mental health system, community nurses need to build upon school mental health services and encourage more in-school programs (Stephan, Weist, Kataoka, Adelsheim, & Mills, 2007). School nurses must be included in the discussion when seeking solutions to this escalating issue. The purpose of this study was to understand the school nurses’ perspective on their role and management of mental health issues. This is a major topic impacting healthcare, especially nursing.

Methods:

A cross-sectional survey design was used to complete this study. A researcher developed survey was reviewed by content experts providing face validity. School nurses (N = 200) completed a 10-minute paper survey at an Arkansas School Nurses Association (ASNA) meeting. Descriptive statistics, spearman’s rho and chi-squared tests were used to analyze the data.

Results:

There was a positive correlation between the size of district and the number of roles nurses perceived themselves having as part of the mental health team when dealing with mental health concerns (p = 0.038). The same trend was found with the number of years licensed and the size of district (p = 0.049). Over 77% of school nurses perceived themselves to be a vital part of the mental health team, wanted to continue their education on mental health nursing, and saw mental health as a rising issue within their school districts.

Conclusions:

School nurses see themselves as a vital part of the mental health care team and believe mental health issues are increasing in their schools. Nurses in this study desired additional support in the form of education and an increase in mental health assistance programs to provide effective care for the populations they serve.

Keywords

Nursing, Mental Health, School Nurses', Arkansas

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