The impact of technology on school health: A national Delphi probe of change to 2005 A.D.

Date of Completion

January 1989


Health Sciences, Nursing|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




Predictions of changes in the role of the school nurse into the mid-future were gathered through the Delphi technique. A national panel of school nurse consultants and certified school nurses identified technological and social changes which they predicted would alter school health practice. A three round process provided individual forecasts, which were then combined into 47 statements of predicted change. Each expert was asked to indicate predictability and desirability for each occurrence. Consensus was reached in 16 of the items.^ Strongest agreement centered around computerization of health records, younger children within the educational setting requiring supervision of the school nurse; more medically fragile children in school systems; and the expanded role of the school nurse into more health teaching and community health settings. The school nurses predicted greater role expansion and increased use of technology for communication, screening and health maintenance in schools. The consultants were less optimistic in these areas, citing the limitations of finances and adequate professional staffing for such predicted changes. All panelists predicted an increase in professional education and the level of practice essential for school nursing in the future.^ Conclusions drawn from this Delphi study on school nursing include: need for greater funding; the suitability of computerization within school health practice and education; dedication of the school nurses to provide the level of practice required for the changing school population; and the desire of the experts to be recognized as true partners with the educators in preparing students for productive lives. ^