Nursing & Care


The Effectiveness of the Lunch Buddy Program: Mental Health Nursing Student Placements in Elementary Schools

Bonnie Raingruber PhD, RN

A decrease in funding for school nurses, counselors, and social workers in local school districts; and increasing interpersonal challenges faced by elementary school age children prompted the design of a school-based mental health clinical placement for nursing students. The Lunch Buddy Program consists of 8 consecutive clinical weeks of one hour 1:1 meetings scheduled at a consistent time between a nursing student and an elementary school child. Nursing students spend time mentoring, offering help with homework, providing health education, engaging in physical activity, and completing art and play activities. Both school personnel and nursing students evaluated the program as being effective. Additional quantitative evaluations are needed as are expanded school-based clinical placements for mental health nursing students.