Tennessee School Nurses Focus on Improving Sudden Cardiac Arrest Training Across the State!

By Janet Thornton, MSN, RN, BSN, Ed posted 09-19-2018 07:25


The Tennessee Association of School Nurses (TASN) was organized in 1996 and unified with the National Association of School Nurses in 2006.  With a mission to promote, improve, and maintain quality comprehensive school health services by advancing the professional practice of school nursing, the TASN supports nurses who provide health services to approximately 1 million students housed in 1819 schools. 

Tennessee implemented school nurse legislation in 1995 requiring at least one full time RN per three thousand students in every school district and funded the position (s) through the basic education program. Tennessee also implemented Medication and Health Care Procedures in 1996 requiring all medications and health care procedures must be provided by a licensed nurse for students. In 2006 Tennessee implemented the Coordinated School Health legislation and budgeted fifteen million dollars into the recurring budget for school health with a primary emphasis on physical inactivity and childhood obesity. Coordinated School Health is also highlighted in Tennessee’s Every Student Succeeds plan.  There has also been legislation passed for AEDs in schools, CPR training, Sudden Cardiac Arrest training, concussion training, and emergency medication training for Epi-pens, Diastat, glucagon, and naloxone.  

Tennessee school nurses have accomplished so much since the first meeting in 1996 when we had only a handful of members. We have grown in numbers, and we now have nurses in every school district across the state. Currently, Tennessee school nurses are working on a project to implement Project Adam across the state. Project Adam provides schools with information, materials, training, and support in the management of public access to defibrillator programs.  The placement of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public schools is one of our priorities. The program assists school nurses to coordinate and train emergency response teams, practice drills and ensures staff and community awareness.  To accomplish this, we have partnered with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, and we are working on a partnership with LeBonheur Children’s Hospital. As an affiliate of this national project, our schools benefit from sharing best practices, medical developments and regional news.  Tennessee school nurses are working towards the eradication of sudden cardiac death in children through research, education, and prevention initiatives.