This memorandum of understanding between the Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Education seeks to link, and optimize the efficiency of, the efforts of both departments in providing school health services. The MOU describes the relationship of school nurses to these efforts.
The Vermont State School Nurse Consultant provides consultative support to school nurses. This work is done in coordination with the Health Department's Maternal and Child Health Director and the Office of Local Health School Liaisons in each of the 12 local health offices around the state.
The State School Nurse Consultant works with a number of state and national partners, including:
- National Association of School Nurses
- National Association of State School Nurse Consultants
- Agency of Education
- Vermont Board of Nursing
- School Nurse Advisory Committee
- Vermont State School Nurses Association
- Vermont Nurses In Partnership, Inc. (VNIP)
If you have questions about school nursing practice, school health services policies and procedures, or need to sign up for Vermont’s required online New School Nurse Orientation, contact Sharonlee Trefry MSN, RN, NCSN at 802-863-7348 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact your Office of Local Health School Liaison to learn more about school health services and school nursing efforts in your area.
The Vermont State Board of Education’s Education Quality Standards (2014), and the Vermont Department of Health promote the use of a system of Essential School Health Services, formerly called School Nurse Leader Framework. Through consistent school nurse leadership students, families, and school personnel access increasingly safe, consistent, equitable, and Essential School Health Services system every day, all day. This structure improves and sustains positive health outcomes for students, therefore increasing student engagement in their learning environment. This system aligns with the principles of the Framework for 21st Century School Nursing Practice which include: Standards of Practice, Public Health, Care Coordination, Leadership and Quality Improvement. School nurse leadership is also an integral component of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ASCD’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model.
This systematic approach to Vermont’s school health services is based on the needs of students, their families, and the school community. It is designed to improve student outcomes and attendance, and to increase the effectiveness of teacher and administrator time spent on student learning. School nurse leadership improves outcomes, through increased quality and safety, due to efficient and equitable school health services for all students.
According to Rules Governing the Licensing of Educators and the Preparation of Educational Professionals – May 2016:
"Except as set forth in rule 5380, any educator employed in a public school shall possess a valid Vermont educator license, an endorsement appropriate to the professional assignment, and any other license or credential required by these rules or the applicable endorsement, on the first day of service."
School nurses are licensed by the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) (pgs.113-122). They qualify as Specialized Instructional Support Personnel according to the Every Student Succeeds Act (2015).
For more information about the licensing process, review the Standards of Practice: School Health Services Manual’s Licensing section. To begin an application to become a licensed School Nurse or Associate School Nurse, visit the Vermont Agency of Education's Licensing page.
The Health Department is responsible for orienting school nurses and associate school nurses according to the Vermont Department of Health and Agency of Education Memorandum of Understanding: School Health Services. Contact the Vermont State School Nurse Consultant Sharonlee Trefry MSN, RN, NCSN (802-863-7348 or email@example.com) for access to the required online orientation, and information about the recommended in-person New School Nurse (pilot project) Training provided in partnership with the University of Vermont’s Area Health Education Center.
The Health Department supports school nurses in developing the skills needed to lead the school health services of Vermont’s public and independent schools. We partner with nursing leaders from the nursing industry and schools to offer the following professional development programs:
School Nurse Leadership 101 is designed for school nurses who have been practicing in schools for a minimum of two (preferably three) years. This two-day program is geared to developing a professional learning community for school nurses interested in sharing and expanding their knowledge and skills related to school nursing leadership. Leadership 101 is a joint effort with the Vermont Nurses in Partnership, Inc. (VNIP). For program objectives and instructions on how to apply:
For more information and the dates of the next offering, contact the Vermont State School Nurse Consultant Sharonlee Trefry MSN, RN, NCSN (802-863-7348 or firstname.lastname@example.org). The location alternates annually between southern and northern Vermont sites.
School Nurse Leader 201 is an ongoing Professional Learning Community (PLC) run by nurse leader participants from the School Nurse Leadership 101 program. The Vermont State School Nurse Consultant supports this PLC by providing a meeting structure, free WebEx access (an online meeting tool), scheduling, planning, support, and coaching. The participants establish the goals and objectives for the school year. The PLC currently meets for one hour every other month online. Project work is often prepared by participants prior to meetings, and presented at the PLC meeting. Products created as a result of participation in the Leader 201 course are shared with the participants, and may be shared with Vermont’s School Nurse Advisory Committee.
The School Nurse Advisory Committee is made up of five practicing school nurses (including the president of the Vermont State School Nurses’ Association), an education professional from the Agency of Education, and is chaired by the Vermont State School Nurse Consultant. Ex officio members are the Health Department’s Maternal and Child Health Director and a public health nurse. The committee is charged with three objectives:
- Maintain the Standards of Practice: School Health Services Manual
- Maintain an up-to-date online orientation for new school nurses
- Promote school nurse workforce development
The committee meets monthly. This group often consults with content experts as necessary when updating content. Some of the many experts this group works with include the Vermont chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Academy of Family Physicians, the Vermont Board of Nursing, the Vermont Brain Injury Association, Health Department program specialists, the Agency of Education, Vermont Nurses in Partnership, Inc., the University of Vermont’s Area Health Education Center, and Vermont institutes of higher nursing education. The committee may also consult with the Vermont Principals Association, the Vermont Superintendents Association, the Vermont School Boards Association, and other stakeholders as needed. For more information about this group or its history, review the Standards of Practice: School Health Services Manual’s Introduction section.
School nursing is an independent specialty practice, as described in the Scope and Standards of Practice (2011) created by the American Nurses Association and National Association of School Nurses. School nurses are strongly encouraged to participate in professional nursing organizations to stay current with best evidence-based practices in their typically isolated settings. The professional organizations set the standards of school nursing practice. For more information, contact the president of the VSSNA (email@example.com), or visit the VSSNA website.
NASN is an important resource for school nurses. Information and tools created by NASN are appropriate for all school nurses (beginning to expert). The mission of NASN is to optimize student health and learning by advancing the practice of school nursing. The vision of NASN is that every student is healthy, safe and ready to learn. All school nurses may find the complete binder of position and other statements of particular interest.
NBCSN endorses the concept of voluntary certification by examination for all school nurses. Professional certification in school nursing provides an ongoing, quality credentialing process for eligible school nurses. Certification represents a national standard of preparation, knowledge, and practice. NBCSN provides the opportunity for school nurses to set the standards for their specialty area through voluntary professional certification.
The mission of the National Association of State School Nurse Consultants is to provide expertise in health, and promote academic success of the nation’s children and youth by providing national leadership and advocacy, impacting public policy, collaborating and proactively influencing school health programs and school nursing practice.