A Complete Guide to National School Nurse Day 2021

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School nurses are unsung heroes — they administer medication, check for fevers, look for lice (shudder), and much, much more. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

There’s only one day a year set aside in honor of school nurses — National School Nurse Day. We’ll tell you how and when it got started and give you some gift ideas you could give to your children’s school nurse.

Finally, we will provide you with some sample messages you may want to consider sharing with your favorite school personnel.

When is National School Nurse Day?

School Nurse Day is celebrated on the Wednesday of National Nurses Week, according to the National Association of School Nurses’ website. National Nurse Week starts every year on May 6. The celebration ends May 12, which is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the originator of modern nursing.

Here are the dates of National School Nurse Day:

  • 2021: Wednesday, May 12
  • 2022: Wednesday, May 11
  • 2023: Wednesday, May 10
  • 2024: Wednesday, May 8
  • 2025: Wednesday, May 7
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What is National School Nurse Day?

National School Nurse Day is a day for people to show appreciation for nurses who are serving in a school setting.

The National Education Association established a separate entity that looked after the interests of school nurses in the late 1960s. This association was called the Department of School Nurses, and its primary purpose was to improve the quality of school nursing. Throughout the 1970s, each state set standards that school nurses must meet. 

In 1974, President Ford proclaimed that National School Nurse Day would be celebrated each year in January. Since then, the date has been moved to coincide with National Nurse Week. 

National School Nurse Day Gift Ideas

Grade school parents usually send gifts to classroom teachers each year around the holidays and during National Education Week. School nurses are often overlooked. If you have a student who is known as a “frequent flyer” in the school nurse’s office, you might want to give your school nurse a token of your appreciation. 

Be sure your gift doesn’t have any unintended undertones. For example, don’t buy your school nurse a healthcare book. Your school nurse is professionally trained and does not need any additional resource materials.

You could give your school nurse the same type of gift you would give a nurse or try one of these National Nurses Week ideas, but here are some ideas that are specifically chosen for a nurse working at a grade school, middle school, or high school.

Corny joke day-of-the-week calendar

Since they deal with kids all day, most nurses have a few goofy jokes in their back pockets that they use to distract kids who aren’t feeling well.

Give the nurses some new material. Find a humorous calendar full of jokes grade school kids would like.

Journal

School nurses have the best stories — especially those who work with younger kids. Due to HIPAA laws, they have to be extremely careful not to divulge a child’s personal information.

Give your school nurse a journal so she can write down her most humorous stories and experiences (without the children’s names) and she won’t break any confidentiality laws.

Lotion

School nurses wash their hands dozens of times each day because they deal with runny noses and stomach bugs all day long. Give your school nurse high-quality lotion so her hands don’t become quite so raw from frequent washing.

Gift card to a local cafe

You might also want to buy a gift card to a local cafe for your favorite school nurse. Not only will you support a small business in your community, but you will be showing your appreciation to a hard-working member of your school staff.

Gift card for a pedicure

Show your appreciation by giving your school nurse an hour of pampering. Pedicures, massages, and facials are especially relaxing. 

School nurse t-shirt, coffee mug, or decal

A simple Google search will give you a lot of gifts for school nurses. Purchase an item that allows your school nurse to advertise her profession. 

Flowers

Don’t feel pressured to spend a lot of money to show your school nurse how much you appreciate him or her. Since National School Nurse Day is in May, have your child pick a flower from your garden to share with your nurse. 

National School Nurse Day Card Message Ideas

School nurses’ contributions are often overlooked. If your child has had a meaningful interaction (or a significant number of visits) with your school nurse, send a sweet note. Here are some ideas to help you get started.

“I just wanted to let you know how much our family appreciates you! You are so kind to Harriet when she visits your office several times a week. You recognize that her tummy aches are from anxiety instead of a medical condition. Thank you for giving her a pep talk, hugging her, and sending her back to class with more confidence.”

“We can’t thank you enough for recognizing signs of depression in Anthony. He is naturally quiet, so it is difficult for us to tell how he is feeling. Thank you for helping us find a program that will help him.”

“We love you, Nurse Wendy! We know that you often get overlooked by the other parents, but we wanted to let you know how much we appreciate you. Thank you for putting on countless Band-Aids, continually checking for fevers, and more. You’re the best!”

“Happy School Nurse Day, Nurse Mike! Thank you for being so calm and reassuring when you called me the other day about Hudson’s accident. I know I was freaking out, and you were so gentle with me and encouraged me to remember that he would be okay.”

“Thanks so much for watching Sam’s blood sugar like a hawk. We love how you continually educate him about his diabetes. We feel confident that he will be able to manage on his own in high school, thanks to you.”

Recognizing Your School Nurse

School nurses are essential because they’re your children’s health advocates when you aren’t there. That’s why it’s so important that they don’t go unrecognized.

Speaking of kids, have you thought about starting your end-of-life planning? You do so much for your children. Don’t require them to make difficult decisions for you on their own when you pass away.

If you're looking for more days dedicated to health care, read our guides on National Healthcare Decisions Day and National Physician Assistant Week.


Sources

  1. “Our History.” National Association of School Nurses. www.nasn.org/home.
  2. “School Nurse Day.” National Education Association. www.nea.org/grants/31691.htm.

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