First Advisor

Patricia Cullen


Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

74 pages


Rural school nurses face the challenge of practicing nursing care in an environment that is not built around health care. They are often the only person with health care knowledge in the school, and therefore feel alone. There has been little research into the perceptions of school nurses related to their experiences. To begin to fill this gap, a descriptive phenomenology dived deeply into the lived experiences of nine rural school nurses. The nurse researcher conducted face – to – face interviews with these nurses. One main question related to their experiences and five sub-questions yielded a wide variety of responses and concerns which were then analyzed by constant comparative analysis and coded into themes and subthemes. The revealed themes included: Children’s Multiple Health Issues, Communication Challenges, and Unmet Students’ Needs. The results revealed that these rural school nurses work with children who live in extreme poverty and homeless conditions, with very few resources available. The children in these schools have a plethora of acute, chronic, and rare health conditions and face many mental health challenges. These rural school nurses also revealed challenges in communicating with children, parents, and other health professionals, and that there are many unmet student needs because of missing resources and lack of time.

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Location (Creation)

Denver, Colorado

Rights Statement

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