August 10, 2018


 School nurses deal with a wide variety of problems on a daily basis, from cuts and bloody noses to fevers and upset stomachs - and much more. They really need to be prepared to take care of a whole host of potential illnesses and injuries little ones come to them with every day!

 If you’re a school nurse, you’ll appreciate the list of essential items we’ve listed below. Keep these in your office where you can easily access them in a moment’s notice and your days will go more smoothly – no matter what situation you’re faced with! 

  1. Gloves- Personal protective equipment, such as medical gloves, are essential to wear for a variety of injuries and illnesses children will come to you with. Of course, gloves should absolutely be worn whenever you can’t avoid contact with blood and body fluids.  

  2. Alcohol Pads- Kids are always getting cuts and bruises, so this is a key item for quickly cleaning them up. 

  3. Band-Aids- If nurses got a dollar for every band-aid they used, they’d all be rich - and this is especially true for school nurses! Keep a good amount of these in your office and always be sure to have a handful in your pockets. 

  4. Gauze Pads -Gauze is the most widely used wound care dressing and gauze pads are a must-have for school nurses. They have multiple uses, from cleansing and packing to covering and securing a variety of wounds. They’re a school nurse’s best friend.

  5. Thermometer- It should go without saying that all school nurses need to always have a thermometer with them to accurately identify if a child is running a fever. A thermometer is an important tool for determining whether a child’s complaints are serious enough to send them home or if they’re OK to remain in school.

  6. Instant Ice Packs- Instant cold packs work wonders for soothing minor aches and pains including headaches and toothaches. They are also great for lowering a child’s body temperature.

  7. Stethoscope- The amount any individual school nurse will use a stethoscope will largely depend on the health issues of the students she or he works with, with some needing one almost daily and others less frequently. Regardless of whether or not you need to use your stethoscope every day, it’s an essential tool to have.


School nurses will primarily use stethoscopes for children that come in with respiratory complaints, such as coughing, wheezing, feeling short of breath or asthma flare-ups. If you work in an elementary school, we highly recommend using a stethoscope specifically designed for pediatrics, as they have advantages such as a smaller chest piece, which is better suited for a child’s body size and shape, acoustic sensitivity for fainter sounds and a more appealing colorful appearance.


  1. Backup EpiPens- Each school will have its’ own policy regarding EpiPens, and there will be differences for school nurses who work in elementary schools compared to those who work in junior high schools. Often, junior high school students are allowed to carry their EpiPens with them, whereas teachers usually keep those of elementary school students in their classroom. However, regardless of the school setting you work in and your school’s specific rules surrounding EpiPens, it’s usually advised that school nurses keep backup EpiPens in their office in the event students forget theirs at home or an EpiPen is lost.


If your school’s policy is such that you keep student EpiPens in your office, we suggest keeping them organized in a hanging shoe holder on your office door or in a filing cabinet. A hanging shoe holder is also a good way to organize any backup EpiPens you keep on hand.