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Actions for the School Nurse

If there is not a nurse at your school, these tasks should be assigned to an appropriate staff member. This staff member should receive training in asthma basics, management and emergencies. For information on how to get asthma training, contact your local American Lung Association office.

  • Maintain an Asthma Action Plan for every student with asthma.  Include information on medications, dosages, triggers, and emergency procedures.
  • Asthma may be considered a disability for a student, depending on severity, under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA. Many students with asthma, especially those with severe asthma, may need a 504 Plan/IEP to ensure that they receive the services they need to learn in the school environment. Use 504 Plans or IEPs, as appropriate, particularly for health services and physical activity modifications. To find out more about reasonable accommodations law, click here for info on Section 504 and Title II of ADA.
  • Alert staff members about students with a history of asthma.
  • Use the warning signs listed on this website to help identify students with uncontrolled asthma. Provide this information to parents, and ask parents to seek evaluation from a doctor.
  • Assist with the administration of medication in accordance with school policy, making sure medication is administered in a timely fashion. Michigan's law that allows students to carry their quick-relief inhalers with them at school, for use in preventing or treating asthma symptoms, if permission is given by the doctor and parent.
  • Monitor response to treatment using a peak flow meter, if possible.
  • Communicate with parents about acute episodes, if any, and about the student’s general progress in controlling asthma at school.
  • Conduct inservices on asthma, and consult with staff to help develop appropriate school activities for students with asthma.
  • Collaborate with the PTA to offer a family asthma education program after school hours. Consult asthma organizations, including your local asthma coalition and the American Lung Association of Michigan for assistance in setting up this program.
  • Additional links that may be useful to you:
    Michigan Association of School Nurses (MASN) – Includes suggested school action plans, and position papers on administration of medications in schools and the delegation of school health services to unlicensed staff

    National Association of School Nurses (NASN) – Includes many position statements and briefs about use of inhalers, care plans, medication administration, role of school nurse, indoor air quality, the laws about reasonable accommodation, and more.

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Resolution on Asthma Management in School