Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Dr. Susan L. Instone, Chairperson; Dr. Lois Howland; Dr. Anita J. Hunter


California, children & youth, medication administration, nursing, school attendance, school nurses, student outcomes


The purpose of this study was to obtain evidence to support the assumption that school nurses have a positive effect on school attendance and medication administration practices and to hear the voice of the California school nurse. Data from this exploratory, descriptive study came from an online researcher developed survey consisting of both forced choice and open-ended questions completed by California school nurses representing the three major regions of California (Northern, Central, and Southern). The following three research questions guided the study: 1) What is the relationship between school and nurse factors on student outcomes? 2) How valued do California school nurses feel? 3) What makes the California school nurse feel valued? Descriptive statistics and correlations between school nurse and nurse factors and student outcomes were computed for comparability analysis at baseline. Research question three was analyzed qualitatively for themes using a horizontal approach. A total of 382 surveys were utilized for data analysis and these were separated based on region of California. The majority of nurses reported having a method to track attendance and receive referrals for students with frequent absences. The majority also reported that attendance improved after their intervention. The majority of nurses reported that they have guidelines for medication administration; the most common people to administer medications were the health aide or secretary; and no medication errors occurred in the previous month. Of the errors that had occurred, the most common error was a missed dose. Correlations between years of experience as a school nurse, number of students and school sites that the nurse is responsible for and number of medication errors and number of children sent home were non-significant. The majority of school nurses felt "extremely valued" or "valued" in their current positions. Nine themes from open ended questions were developed to learn specifically what makes school nurses feel valued. Limitations of this study included the self-report nature of the survey, the large amount of data missing for key questions, and the convenience sample. Discussion for areas of future research is included.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons