Does contact by a family nurse practitioner decrease early school absence?
Chronic early school absence (preschool through third grade) is associated with school failure. The presence of school nurses may lead to fewer absences, and nurse practitioners in school-based health centers (SBHCs) can facilitate a healthier population resulting in improved attendance. Efforts to get students back to school are unexplored in nursing literature. This article describes a nursing intervention to decrease early school absence in two elementary schools K-3 (N = 449) and a Head Start program (N = 130). The Head Start Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) contacted families of chronically and excessively absent students by telephone, clinic visit at school, or home visit. The aggregate percentage attendance was evaluated by grades (preschool to third grade), schools (Head Start, Elementary Schools 1 and 2), and grades and schools and compared with publicly available school district aggregate data. There were statistically significant increases in attendance from Year 1 to Year 2 at p < .05 at the elementary level but not at the Head Start level. Student demographics, types of contacts, absence reasons (including sick child), and medical diagnoses are described.
Kerr, J; Price, M; Kotch, J; Willis, S; Fisher, M; Silva, S
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