Objective: To assess the quality of communication and education about asthma in Pennsylvania public schools. Methods: Survey of a stratified random sample of school nurses in rural and urban Pennsylvania public schools (n = 996) concerning communication with school nurses about asthma by physicians and parents, nurses' perceived obstacles to asthma management at school, and utilization of and need for education about asthma. Results: A total of 757 surveys were received (response rate 76%). Thirty-nine percent of school nurses rated their communication with physicians about asthma as either poor or very poor. Urban nurses were significantly more likely to report poor/very poor physician communication (P = .09). Fifty-two percent of the nurses overall (43% rural, 56% urban) also cited lack of communication with parents as an important obstacle to asthma management. Forty-nine percent of school nurses (43% rural, 52% urban) reported attending an asthma education program during the previous year, and 75% (83% rural, 71% urban) expressed interest in additional education. Education about asthma was provided for classroom teachers in 54% of schools (56% rural, 54% urban) and provided for students in 58% of schools (54% rural, 60% urban). Conclusions: These findings document need for improvement in communication about children's asthma between school nurses and physicians. Although communication appears better in rural relative to urban schools, it is a salient issue in both settings. Study findings also indicate the need for expanded professional education opportunities for school nurses and improved access to appropriate curricular materials for school staff, parents, and students.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health