Behavioral health emergencies managed by school nurses working with adolescents. Academic Article uri icon


  • As members of interdisciplinary teams, school nurses provide behavioral health services. Studies indicate that school nurses may lack sufficient continuing education in adolescent behavioral health and in the management of behavioral health emergencies, specifically. We conducted this study to describe the adolescent behavioral health emergencies managed by school nurses.We used data from a New Mexico public school nurse workforce survey to describe the involvement of school nurses in managing adolescent behavioral health emergencies. We included all respondents who self-identified as working in a secondary school (N = 186). We conducted descriptive analyses.Two thirds of survey respondents had provided emergency management in the prior school year for child abuse or neglect, depression, and violence at school. Over 40% had provided emergency management for a suicidal student in the prior school year. Although almost 80% of respondents identified "violence at school" as a very important continuing education topic, 40% reported having received continuing education on this topic in the prior 5 years.In New Mexico, public school nurses provide substantial amounts of emergency management for adolescent behavioral health problems. Continuing education received by school nurses on behavioral health emergencies may not be commensurate with their clinical responsibilities.© 2013, American School Health Association.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013