Legal Issues in School Health Services: A Resource for School Administrators, School Attorneys, and School Nurses

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LEGAL ISSUES IN SCHOOL HEALTH SERVICES: A RESOURCE FOR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS, SCHOOL ATTORNEYS, AND SCHOOL NURSES. SCHWAB, N. C., & GELFMAN, M. H. B. (EDs.). (2001). NORTH BRANCH, MN: SUNRISE RIVER PRESS.

The book's primary purpose is to give professionals in the area of school health a resource tool and it accomplishes that purpose. The editors acknowledge three groups of school professionals that could benefit from reading this text-nurses, administrators and attorneys. The text is well written and is laid out in a systematic manner that enhances reading and comprehension with discussion of foundational issues and practice issues. The practice issues cover many required topics. The text includes various items essential to every school health program, e.g. Good Samaritan Laws, consent to treat, and documentation. Additionally, the text includes several topics that the general practitioner may not have been exposed to in a long time, if ever, depending upon the profession.

Several of the book's components are currently considered hot topics for the professional, e.g. special education practices and resuscitation efforts. These topics require that the professional have an operational knowledge in order to be prepared for the school workplace environment. The authors utilizes the most current literature to support their comments. Individual chapter authors innovatively presented the material and included several items of particular interest; job descriptions, staffing needs, and performance appraisal or evaluation criteria. The information provided would be critical to the ongoing success of a school health program and would, in essence, help provide for continued support of the program especially in a budget-deficit environment.

The text is divided into five separate sections. The first section covers foundational issues. This section includes a historical review of school health services and helps provide the crucial support for the continued need for school health programs. Additionally, this section contains the basic components of law and includes both civil and criminal aspects as well as other pertinent legal issues. Of particular importance the discussion of negligence in the school setting and the ethical dilemmas that the school and the healthcare practitioner can be faced with when providing services.

The second section relates to specific practice issues. The authors include state mandated policies and guidelines. Additionally, standards of practice and clinical performance issues are discussed. Information in this section also includes guidelines for medication administration, field trips, environmental safety and preventive screening. Furthermore, the authors provide a significant section on adolescent issues and the rights of minors, including emancipation, pregnancy, sexual harassment and violence.

The third section covers confidentiality and records. The authors covered general principles, laws and rules of confidentiality. One area that could be of critical importance is the topic of HIV and other communicable diseases and the "duty to warn." This section also includes documentation standards and specifics of record keeping issues especially with regard to the electronic record, e-mail and facsimile information.

The fourth section contains information about discrimination and special education. This section includes special interest topics related to access and eligibility requirements as well as general information about the ADA and compliance issues. …