The pivotal Role of nurses in education and health | Inquirer Opinion

The pivotal Role of nurses in education and health

/ 05:01 AM December 07, 2023

In the Philippines, as in many other parts of the world, education stands out as the most potent determinant of health. The interplay between these two factors is undeniable. Access to quality education equips individuals with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed choices about their health. It instills an understanding of the importance of nutrition, exercise, and overall well-being. Furthermore, education plays a pivotal role in enhancing socioeconomic status, which, in turn, directly impacts health outcomes. The connection between education, income, and health is a cycle that empowers individuals to break free from the shackles of poverty and improve their quality of life.

Within this context, school nurses emerge as central figures in nurturing the link between health and education. Their role transcends conventional health care; they are advocates for student well-being, offering a lifeline for students and their families. School nurses are the first line of defense, identifying early signs of potential health issues, addressing mental health concerns, and managing chronic conditions. These services are indispensable in a country with limited comprehensive health-care resources.

However, the Philippine scenario presents unique challenges for school nurses. The issue of inadequate funding and disparities in resource allocation often results in understaffed clinics and limited access to essential resources. These challenges directly impact the quality of care and pose significant barriers to student well-being. Bridging these gaps and ensuring stable funding for school nurses are essential for nurturing the health-education relationship.


Our article points out an alarming issue of disparities in students’ access to school nurses, primarily rooted in geography and distribution. School nurses are predominantly concentrated in urban areas, leaving rural areas with inadequate access to nursing care. This situation is concerning, given that rural communities are more likely to be designated as medically underserved areas with limited access to primary health-care providers. In many rural settings, the school nurse may be the only health-care provider children see yearly.


A national policy is imperative to address these disparities and ensure a stable funding mechanism for school nurses. Adequate funding for school health and nurses is vital for elevating school nursing salaries, attracting professionals to the specialty, and ensuring that full-time nursing services are available to all children in all our communities. This policy should emphasize the need to close the health disparity gap and provide equitable access to school nursing services.

Despite the evident importance of school nurses in the Philippines, as in other parts of the world, this specialty faces challenges such as workforce shortages, burnout, and low salaries. To attract and retain nurses in this field, salaries must reflect their high skill level and responsibility. Additionally, systemic issues such as the reliance on property taxes for local education funding and the need for more understanding about nursing and school nursing among local administrators pose significant barriers.Education’s role as the most potent determinant of health in the Philippines is unequivocal. It is the catalyst for good health and social mobility. The pivotal role of school nurses in bridging the gap between health and education cannot be underestimated. A national policy that ensures stable funding for school nurses is not just about allocating resources; it is an investment in the nation’s students’ well-being, education, and future. By addressing school nurses’ unique challenges and advocating for their support, we can further strengthen the link between education, health, and social mobility in the Philippines.

Patria Manalaysay, RN, PhD

Faustino Jerome Babate, PhD, MBA, RN

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TAGS: Letters to the Editor, Nurses

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