News Articles

New Report Details Challenges for School Nurses in Caring for Immigrant, Refugee Children

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

School nurses provide critical care to thousands of immigrant and refugee children, and a new report outlines their experiences as they face challenges such as language barriers, incomplete medical records, and supporting children who are stressed and traumatized by their move to a new country. 

Report co-author Christina Lee, associate professor at Boston University School of Social Work and research core director at the Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health, is a co-author of the report, “Experiences of School Nurses Caring for Newly Arrived Immigrant and Refugee Children,” which was published in the International Journal of Educational Reform.

“School nurses…play a pivotal role in engaging families and helping to manage the children’s healthcare needs and are uniquely positioned to provide needed care,” the report reads. “Many of these families are living in abject poverty, with the credible fear of deportation. Laws and policies related to immigration affect newly arrived children’s physical health, mental health, and psychosocial well-being. Therefore, it is incumbent on all school personnel to consider what may be at stake if newly arrived children do not receive effective health services and interventions to promote well-being and academic achievement.”

Researchers surveyed 20 nurses who work in urban public schools in Massachusetts between February and June 2019. The nurses relayed their experiences working with children whose families face housing instability, fear of deportation, trauma and emotional stress, and, in some cases, unique physical and behavioral health needs. Researchers found that the nurses serve as a vital link between children newly-arrived in the U.S, their families, the school and necessary medical care.

Read more:

Experiences of School Nurses Caring for Newly Arrived Immigrant and Refugee Children, in the International Journal of Educational Reform.

Photo credit: RODNAE Productions, Pexels.