The Who and How of independent school health services research
In an earlier blog, New research for independent school nurses and health services, we gave an overview of the 2013-14 Annual Report of Independent School Health Services, but the research and annual report wouldn’t exist without the people who created it and the people who participated in it. So, without further ado, I present to you, the Who and the How of the annual report.
With advice, input, and direction from an advisory panel of distinguished independent school nurses, the Magnus Health marketing and product teams designed the annual research questionnaire. The panel of six members allowed us to identify and hone in on the topics most important to school health professionals so the information gathered would be as useful as possible.
The survey was also promoted on the Magnus Health website and via social media, along with the help of the National Business Officers Association (NBOA), who distributed the survey link to their membership database. A link to the survey was also sent by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), following NASN research mailing list protocol, to private school nurses. Responses were collected from April 9th – May 7th, 2014 and a total of 458 people began the survey. After removing those that were incomplete, duplicate submissions from the same school, and submissions from public schools, 151 complete and validated responses remained. The decision to remove public school data was determined due to the fundamental and significant differences between health services provided at public and private schools.
So, with our final 151 respondents’ information, we set about identifying the independent school demographics of our data set. The final respondents are located across the country, and two are from schools outside of the United States. The Northeast represents the largest percentage of respondents at 39.1%, followed by the South at 31.1%, the Midwest at 17.2%, and the West at 11.3%.
Boarding and day schools of all sizes are represented in the data gathered – 78.2% are day schools, and 21.9% are boarding schools. All schools are under 2,000 students, with an average enrollment of 511 students. Schools between 251-1,000 students make up the majority of respondents at 67.6%. The average staff-to-student ratio for all respondents is roughly 1:4.
The majority of schools (85.4%) are co-ed while boys-only and girls-only represent small percentages, each at 7.3%. Respondents were asked to indicate what grade levels are served at their school, and a variety of answers were provided with Pre-K – 8 representing the largest percentage at 26.5%. Following closely behind is Pre-K – 12 at 24.5% and then 9-12 at 20.5%. All other responses fall into one of seven categories, representing less than 10% each.
Each school was asked to indicate the percentage of the student body with chronic health conditions. Asthma is the most common reported condition at 8.4%, followed by severe food allergies at 4.7%, seizures at 1.2%, and diabetes at 0.4%.
For more on the methodology and demographics, and six other sections full of valuable data, download the full Annual Report.