Language Access for Families With Limited English Proficiency: Why Does It Matter?

Sheryl Bennett, Allison P. Squires, Ellen McCabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This manuscript guides school nurses in addressing the unique needs of U.S. school-aged students and families with limited English proficiency (LEP). Owing to the increasing ethnic and racial diversity in U.S. K–12 schools, school nurses will likely encounter children and families with LEP. Students with LEP may be part of a family which immigrated to this country as permanent residents, are refugees, or asylum seekers. Some may be from migrant families who move throughout the region or country for work. School health services, including nursing services, may be the first and only health resource to which these children have consistent access. The availability and importance of language access services are highlighted, as well as tips for school nurses to advocate for language access resources, training for effective communication, understanding the legal landscape, and addressing cultural beliefs that influence health behaviors. Advocacy toward identifying the distinctive needs of families with LEP aims to help school nurses target equitable health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-327
Number of pages8
JournalNASN School Nurses
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • access to care
  • advocacy
  • care coordination
  • collaborative communication
  • language access
  • limited English proficiency
  • school nurses
  • social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • General Medicine


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