Research Priorities

The National Association of School Nurses Research and Research Implementation Priorities 2023

The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) encourages researchers to invest in programs of research with well-designed studies that improve the health of students and school communities. A range of research approaches, including multisite, longitudinal, mixed methods, and intervention studies, are essential for the advancement of school nursing science and its impact on NASN’s vision to keep students healthy, safe, and ready to learn.

NASN champions robust research that addresses one or more of the following research priorities:

Research Priority

Goal for Priority

Targeted Activities—Examine the following:

Effectiveness and Outcomes of School Nursing Practice

Build evidence of school nursing's contribution to education and health care, using existing data when possible

  • school nursing and health services processes (interventions) and their association with student health and academic outcomes
  • intermediate (proximal) student outcome measures that are sensitive to school nurse interventions
  • system-level approaches to address community/public health issues
  • school nurses’ ability to impact access to mental, behavioral, primary, and school-based chronic disease health care
  • the collective impact of school nurse processes on health care spending

Funding for School Health

Secure sustainable funding so all students have access to a school nurse

  • cost-benefit of alternative funding models (cost of obtaining school nurse outcomes and the processes to achieve them)
  • role and value of school nurses in under-resourced rural and urban school settings
  • impact of state legislation/policies and Medicaid funding on school nursing services and student health and academic outcomes

Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health

Address inequity and advocate for health equity

  • the roles of school nurses in addressing health equity and reducing health disparities
  • school nurse-involved/school nurse-led interventions that target disadvantaged student groups and reduce disparities among groups
  • sustained health impact of interventions through longitudinal studies
  • upstream policies, processes, and structural impediments that contribute to health disparities for children, families, and schools in day-to-day care and in emergency response

Implementation Science

Close the Knowing to Doing Gap

School Nursing Workforce and Work Environment

Optimize the school nursing workforce and work environment for student health and success

  • the impetus for entry and exit from the specialty • effective recruitment and retainment of a diverse school nurse workforce
  • school nursing infrastructure (nurse-to-student ratio, workload, quality onboarding for new school nurses, and state school nurse-specific policies) and its association with student health and academic outcomes
  • the role school nurse leaders/administrators play in education leadership teams and decision-making
  • the role of school administrators, district policy, and organizational support as facilitators to school health services and the well-being of school health services personnel

School Violence, Disasters, and Emergency Response

Ensure safe learning environments for students

  • cost effectiveness of evidence-based disaster preparedness and public health initiatives
  • best practices for and outcomes of school nurses’ involvement in school violence, disaster, and public health emergency prevention, preparedness, and emergency response
  • school nurses’ contributions to interdisciplinary collaboration and leadership preparing for and responding to emergencies

School Well-Being

Identify and implement sustainable, effective interventions for overall school well-being

  • the well-being of school nurses and school personnel using measures of physical, mental, social, and moral well-being
  • interventions to address compassion fatigue, moral distress, workplace violence
  • effects of mobile health technologies (use of digital devices to deliver health care and preventive health services) on school nurses’ well-being
  • impact of personnel well-being on student well-being and ability to learn
  • factors facilitating student and school personnel mental health and well-being
  • evidence of the effectiveness of evidence-based universal and targeted school-based mental health initiatives (i.e., trauma-informed schools, multitiered systems of support, school climate)

In addition to robust research projects, systematic literature reviews synthesizing the state of the science in priority areas would also be valued contributions to the literature. Needs assessments and documentation of gaps in the research literature, knowledge, skills, and resources are crucial. Faculty are encouraged to facilitate student projects and empirical studies that fill in the gaps within the current research landscape and within their own program of research.

Page last updated July 2023.