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Developing a Therapeutic Alliance

A part of school nurses’ job that is often underlooked is reaching an understanding with the students. School nursing is a complex job that aims at improving the students’ “well-being, academic success, and lifelong achievement and health” (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2016, p. 915). School nurses have to be able to provide comprehensive nursing care both physically and mentally.

A school nurse can be a person to whom the students come for advice or consultation. Unlike regular school counselors, nurses have to develop a therapeutic alliance with the students if there is a need for any medical help. A crucial part of it is for the nurse to already have a reputation as a trustworthy person at school (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2016). Minding that confidentiality is important, it is a nurse’s obligation to carefully tell the student that the parents and school officials should be informed in case of any danger (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2016). A key to developing a therapeutic alliance is by moving between informal conversation and skilled interviewing strategies (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2016). Spending some time in informal conversation helps to establish a connection with a student and make them feel more comfortable. As the student becomes less hesitant, the nurse can start shifting towards a more formal interview.

Each student at school is unique and has different problems that have to be addressed individually. However, the nurse needs to have a common plan for the interviews with students. Specific questions while developing a therapeutic alliance can be regarding what is causing the most stress, how the stress affects the student, or what information the student needs at the moment (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2016). The nurse needs to be calm, sympathetic, and non-judgmental while asking questions or listening to the answers.


Stanhope, M. & Lancaster, J. (2016). Public health nursing: Population-centered health care in the community (9th ed.). Elsevier Mosby.

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StudyKraken. "Developing a Therapeutic Alliance." July 8, 2022.


StudyKraken. 2022. "Developing a Therapeutic Alliance." July 8, 2022.


StudyKraken. (2022) 'Developing a Therapeutic Alliance'. 8 July.

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