Date of Award

Spring 4-20-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing Administration and Emergency Management




College of Natural & Health Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. Jennifer Helms

Second Committee Member

Dr. Shelly Randall

Third Committee Member

Dr. Melissa Darnell

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Jennifer Helms

Program Director

Dr. Jennifer Helms

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Sarah Gordon


The demands for adequate nursing workloads in public schools have increased with special needs children in Arkansas. School nurses are a necessary component of student academic achievement and physical well-being. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects that nurse-to-student ratios have on absenteeism by providing a convenience sample questionnaire to Arkansas K-12 public school superintendents. The questionnaire has examined the relationship between school nurse ratios and school absentee numbers. A four-question survey was sent out to 233 Arkansas K-12 public schools using a QuestionPro survey. Superintendents were asked about their school district numbers for the 2020-2021 school year. Forty-seven (36.1%) out of 233 respondents partially completed the survey. Of the 47 respondents, 17 (7.2%) completed the survey. Seven (5.5%) provided information about their absentee rates in the 17 completed surveys. Out of the seven schools, the absentee rate was 2.9% to 51%. Data from each school district was examined for special needs children for the 2020-2021 school year and was found to have a 2%-18% rate. This study also examined the relationship of nursing ratios to school district numbers for the 2020-2021 school year. Out of the 13 schools that completed the survey, 61% of the schools did not have adequate nursing workloads at the 1:400 nursing ratio.

Implications for this study were that the schools assessed have higher absentee rates and higher needed nursing ratios for the 2020-2021 school year. The schools that were found to have higher absentee numbers were the schools that require higher nurse-to-student 1:400 ratios. A recommendation for greater sampling numbers and the need for a more in-depth study of special needs children were examined.