Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Nursing and Allied Health Professions

First Advisor

Kristy S. Chunta, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Teresa C. Shellenbarger, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dianna Louise Rupert, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to explore and describe health education competency activities in both classroom and clinical settings within school nurse certification programs. Health education competency was explored within the context of and as defined by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) Standards of School Nursing Practice and Professional Performance (SOSNP).

A qualitative multiple case study design utilized interviews with faculty teaching in school nurse certification programs and examination of program curricula, course descriptions, and researcher field notes in order to glean rich descriptive data regarding health education competency. Interviews with faculty and examination of supporting documents from school nurse certification programs allowed investigation of both the didactic and clinical experiences of nurses taking part in school nurse certification programs. This method facilitated exploration of faculty descriptions and experiences in teaching this specialty group and identification of gaps or needs in preparation of nurses for the role of health educator.

Study participants helped gather information about educational preparedness and continuing education needs of today’s school nurse. This data may assist in evaluation and development of academic curricula, school nurse certification programming, and professional development education. Attention to the changing needs of stakeholders including the school-age population, families, communities, and healthcare providers enhances the provision of safe, quality, and evidence-based practice. Themes of having a voice, knowing the law, advocacy, leadership, preparation to teach, and collaboration all point to issues of preparing skilled clinicians for transition to an advanced practice, autonomous role as a school nurse. All play a part in training the school nurse for preparation to practice in the role of an educator. Speaking about the unique qualities and benefits of having school nursing professionals highly attuned and capable of meeting the needs of today’s students, families, and communities is invaluable for health prevention and promotion.