More than Physical Health

Stephanie Painter, MSN, RN

Director, School Health Advocacy Program

As the Director of the School Health Advocacy Program in Grand Rapids, Stephanie feels very fortunate that she has many resources to provide quality school-based health services in her region.

She is acutely aware of the need and lack of supply of this part of the nursing workforce in other areas of Michigan, saying “School nursing means addressing the physical, social and emotional needs of students in the context of the classrooms, their homes and their communities.”

“It requires a generalist approach that incorporates clinical knowledge and skills as well as excellent decision making that is often times made independently.” Stephanie noted that “While we try to work in teams, school nurses must be able to think independently, prioritize effectively and act efficiently with quality at the core of those actions.”

Stephanie entered nursing because of her love for children and family. She spent many years in acute care and now in her administrative capacity she feels she can influence some of the core needs of her students.

She shared these thoughts: “As the diversity of our students changes, so must the diversity in the nursing workforce. In addition, quality must be at the core of our care. As we grow in service, we must maintain the quality of those services. Maintaining and increasing the rigors of nursing education are essential to prepare nurses; teamwork and critical thinking are essential to sustain quality practice.”