Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

School Name

Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences



Major Advisor

Dr. Kathy Hager

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Loprinzi

Third Advisor

Dr. Lynette Galloway

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Beverley Holland


Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify whether the presence of a nurse in the public high school setting was associated student outcomes. Data gleaned from the study will be used to enact a new legislative policy mandating the presence of a nurse in all public schools in the state of Kentucky.

Background: Nurses employed in the school setting support both the educational mission of the institution, as well as the health and well-being of students. Studies have explored the relationships between school nurse presence and student health. It has been suggested that when children experience poor health, their academic performance declines. There is a lack of scientifically driven data in the literature connecting school nurse presence and student academic outcomes.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study that included cohort data from public high schools in Kentucky. Data were collected during a telephone survey. Respondents answered three multiple choice questions to assess the presence of a daily nurse, length of employment, and typical daily functions. Outcomes from public high schools that had access to a full-time nurse from 2009-2013 were compared to those that did not have access to a nurse.

Results: When compared to schools without access to a full-time nurse, those with a daily nurse had a lower absence rate and higher graduation rates. After controlling for gender, ethnicity, and economic variables, ACT scores were also found to be higher among students with a full-time nurse and part-time nurse when compared to students with no nurse.