The School Nurse Academy (SNA) concept was established through a multi-agency, collaborative effort that includes Arkansas Children’s, the Arkansas Department of Health, and the Arkansas Department of Education. The partnership was born out of growing need to support the professional development of school nurses by providing skill-based courses to address procedures and topics that are responsive to school nurse needs.

School Nurse Academy is an opportunity for school nurses to receive additional training to help serve their students.

Current statewide training resources for school nurses are the Arkansas Department of Education, which employs a full-time School Nurse Consultant, and the Arkansas Department of Health, which employs 16 regional community health nurse specialist (CHNS). CHNS are not pediatric health care specialist and lack capacity to develop and deliver pediatric content for school nurse audiences on a regular basis. The SNAs help to address this capacity gap and offers formal Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) hours to school nurses as they participate in day-long trainings once each year.

The desire for pediatric-focused learning among school nurses is strong, as evidenced via annual Arkansas School Nurse Survey, administered by the Arkansas Department of Education since 2013. The SNA curriculum changes each year to respond to priority needs identified in the survey.

During 2023, five SNAs will be convened, connecting with school districts in all four corners of the state. Efforts will be made to ensure geographic and demographic diversity, strategically concentrating on the highest impact populations with regard to mental health.

A training each year is provided to support school nurses and ultimately the health of children in the state utilizing our collaborative partners expertise as trainers. Prior training topics have of consisted of diabetes, asthma, wound care, trach care, Stop the Bleed and poverty. 

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