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Approximately 10% of school age children suffer from migraines, making migraines one of the top five health problems experienced by youth today

School nurses often are the first healthcare provider seen by youth with migraine; visits to the school nurse for headaches amounted to one-third of the enrolled student population in a large local school district. (see reference)

Empowering school nurses through education and resources to identify and manage migraines therefore may have significant benefits to children with migraines and their families.


To improve migraine care in the community through establishing a headache specialist mentorship program for select school nurses (the "Headache Champion Program")


Figure 1 provides an overview of the project model

Applications were accepted from interested, self-nominated school nurses within the region served by the headache specialist clinical program; those selected for the program demonstrated a commitment to learning and a passion for improving the lives of headache sufferers

The selected school nurses were matched with a headache specialist "mentor" for monthly telephone conversations aimed at increasing knowledge and empowering advocacy for youth with headaches; the headache specialist also provided additional resources for school and home use (e.g.,

Nurses received a certificate of completion and a letter they could mail to families in the school district making them aware of the nurse's participation


Upon completion of the program, school nurse "Headache Champions" were empowered by knowledge to better care for school age children who suffer from migraines.

Feedback from school nurse participants was positive (e.g., "Being able to talk to a person is so much better than just receiving information. . . so educational")

Interest in the program has triipled since its roll out and continues in 2017-18 school year

Future efforts include an urgent access headache clinic, to which students may be directed, and continued growth of the mentorship program.

MeSH Keywords

Headache; Migraine Disorders; School Nursing; Child; Adolescent


Migraines; Headaches; School Nurses; School Health; Children; Teenagers


Nervous System Diseases | Pediatric Nursing


Reference: Connelly M, Bickel J, Wingert T. The Headache action plan for youth (HAPPY). School nurses as facilitators of system change in pediatric migraine care. NASN School Nurse 2017.

The Headache Champion Program