The school nurse’s role has been taken for granted as most people assume that they sit in an office taking temperature, allowing kids to nap, and applying Band-Aids to scraped elbows. However, the school nurse’s role is more advanced as they have to deal with severe medical and emotional issues daily (Lowrey, 2018). The school nurse has to handle emergencies (Ugalde et al., 2018) while performing other duties. Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a common occurrence in schools. School-based Automated External Defibrillator (AED) programs have shown an improvement in the survival rate for people suffering from SCA (Toresdahl et al., 2013). The scenario presented shows the importance of AED in schools and how they should be placed to save lives.

What is the issue?

The issue is that the AED was locked in the custodian’s closet, making it inaccessible when it was needed. AED manufacturers usually recommend that the device be placed where it is visible for everyone to see. This allows for AED readiness whenever an emergency happens. The school nurse is a trained rescuer in the school, and the AED should have been placed within the vicinity.

Is it my issue, and can I solve it?

Yes, issues related to medical emergencies are the responsibility of the school nurse. One of the responsibilities of a school nurse involves handling emergencies (Ugalde et al., 2018). The school nurse develops and trains the teachers and others in the preparation of emergencies. This makes any form of a medical emergency within the school compound the responsibility of the school nurse.

Is this the real issue or merely a symptom of a larger one?

This is the real issue and needs to be resolved before another emergency involving SCA.

Does it need an immediate solution, or can it wait?

The issue needs an immediate solution before another emergency involving SCA occurs. The American College of Cardiology estimates that SCA incidence in school-age persons ranges from 2.1-6.3/100,000 per year (Sherrid et al., 2017). The incidence rate is high for cases of SCA, and the survival rate for schools that have AED is 70% (Sherrid et al., 2017). This is why the issue has to be resolved urgently.

Is it likely to go away by itself?

The issue is not likely to go away by itself. The handling of AED is an important issue that requires handling immediately. Various states have legislation on the installation of AEDs, and as of 2016, 17 out of 50 states had passed legislation requiring the installation of AED in public schools (Sherrid et al., 2017).

Can I risk ignoring it?

The issue cannot be ignored due to its magnitude.

What are the possible solutions? Are there risks to these solutions?

One solution involves placing the AED where it is visible to everyone. This will make sure everyone who knows how to operate can access the AED in an emergency. The AED can be placed in the school nurse’s office as the nurse is a trained rescuer. The nurse has the capability of handling emergencies as that is one of the responsibilities of the nurse. The two solutions both involve ensuring the AED is made visible for everyone. The solutions involve taking the AED from the custodian who locks the device in her locker and ensuring everyone can access the device.

The risk involved with this solution is theft. The solution involves making the device available for everyone, which exposes the device. The solution exposes the device to the risk of theft as everyone has access to the device. The solution is getting an AED cabinet which would help deter theft of the device.

What steps would you need to take to solve the issue?

The nurse can identify the health goals of the students at the high school. These are the health needs of the students, including protecting them in case of emergencies. These are the roles and responsibilities of the nurse. The nurse also has the power due to her expertise to advise the school administration about risks involved that would expose the students to harm. This means protecting the students from the risk of SCA. As an advocate, the nurse should ensure the school learns about the risk of SCA and the importance of having an AED device that is visible to everyone. The device reduces the risk of SCA by 70% (Sherrid et al., 2017). After identifying the needs of the students and explaining to the school administration about the risks posed by locking the AED, the nurse can engage other stakeholders involved like parents and the community.

The other stakeholders help the nurse in pushing for the changes. Engaging the community will involve the nurse explaining SCA’s risk and how AED can help save lives. The nurse has the expertise required to engage the stakeholders about the risk of SCA. The community will help the nurse in pushing the changes required in the schools.

Does anyone else at the school need to be involved in the solution?

There are several stakeholders involved in the school. These are the teachers, students, parents, and members of the community. All these stakeholders should be involved in the solution. They need to realize the risk posed by locking the AED. The stakeholders should also realize that the solution is to protect the students and others like the spectator during the sports event.

Where is the power leverage in the school to reach the preferred solution?

The nurse has the power to protect the students due to her expertise as the school nurse. The role and responsibilities of the nurse also include taking charge of emergencies being a trained medic. The nurse’s expertise gives her the power which can be leveraged in reaching a preferred solution. The role and responsibilities of the nurse give me the power to find the solutions to the issue.


The roles and responsibilities of nurses are more than the assumed duty of taking temperatures, allowing kids to nap, and applying Band-Aids to scraped elbows. They play an essential role in addressing major health problems experienced by the students. Part of their duties involves preparing for emergencies (Ugalde et al., 2018). This can be done by training the teachers in handling emergencies and developing emergency plans. This expertise gives the nurse the power to make decisions regarding the physical and mental health of the students. They have a vested interest in the health of the students and others within the school. In the scenario, the nurse has the power to solve due to the expertise.


Lowrey K. (2018). What School Nurses Really Do: Realizing the Power of School Nursing in Public Health. The Network for Public Health Law. Retrieved from

Sherrid MV, Aagaard P, Serrato S, et al. (2017). State Requirements for Automated External Defibrillators in American Schools: Framing the Debate About Legislative Action. J Am Coll Cardiol 2017; 69:1735-1743.

Toresdahl, B. G., Harmon, K. G., & Drezner, J. A. (2013). High school automated external defibrillator programs as markers of emergency preparedness for sudden cardiac arrest. Journal of athletic training48(2), 242–247.

  Ugalde, M. R., Guffey, D., Minard, C. G., Giardino, A. P., & Johnson, G. A. (2018). A Survey of School Nurse Emergency Preparedness 2014–2015. The Journal of School Nursing, 34(5), 398–408.