The lived experience of the school nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic



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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), commonly known as coronavirus is a virus that attacks the respiratory system of humans and leads to the Coronavirus Disease state discovered in year 2019 (COVID-19). In 2019, COVID-19 began to spread across the country causing a pandemic that affected lives everywhere. Healthcare professionals, including school nurses, are considered front-line and essential workers that have responded to the health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 challenged the role of healthcare professionals and how they provided care. The school nurse role is integral to the health and safety of the school community. Due to the school nurse’s importance to keeping the school community healthy and safe, understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their role is essential. The purpose of this qualitative research study is to learn about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the role of the school nurse. From Husserl’s philosophical approach, a descriptive, phenomenological study was conducted utilizing field notes and semi-structured interview questions that were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed by applying the Colaizzi’s method to determine emerging themes. From 21 interviews with school nurse participants, nine subthemes, three main themes and one overarching theme emerged from this study. The main themes included increased value, increased responsibility, and dismissed or deferred duties with an overarching theme of opportunities and obstacles that school nurses encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic. School nurses’ experiences can provide valuable insight into strengths and weaknesses that have been discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Information gained from this study can be used to improve practice by uncovering areas where school nurses need more support as well as drive policy about the importance of the school nurse on each school campus.



School nurse, School nursing, COVID-19, Pandemic