SDE: Clinical Guidelines Ch7X

Clinical Procedure Guidelines for Connecticut School NursesPrintable version | Back to Contents
Specialized Health Care Procedures

X. Vagus Nerve Stimulator


Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a type of treatment in which short bursts of electrical energy are directed into the brain via the vagus nerve, a large nerve in the neck. A battery about the size of a silver dollar is implanted under the skin in the chest. Electrical leads are threaded under the skin and attached to the vagus nerve during the same procedure. The device is programmed to deliver electrical stimulation that can help reduce the frequency of a child’s seizures. (Epilepsy Therapy Project [2006]; National Institute of Mental Health, 2009).


Vagus nerve stimulators are used to control partial onset seizures (which originate from only one part of the brain) when other methods have been ineffective.


Vagus nerve stimulator magnet.


When the student has an aura, the magnet is passed over the implanted stimulator to cause an immediate stimulation of the vagus nerve. The stimulator may also be used for students who are having a seizure.

Delegation Considerations

The school nurse, RN, or LPN may use the Vagus nerve stimulator. Appropriately trained, unlicensed assistive personnel may also use the magnet when the student is having a seizure with supervision, evaluation, and feedback and an IHCP in place.

Select Nursing Considerations

As with other medical equipment refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for operation. In addition, contact the manufacturer’s representative if you need education regarding the unit.


Epilepsy Therapy Project. (2006). Vagus nerve stimulation. Retrieved January 19, 2012.

Epilepsy Foundation.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2009). Brain stimulation therapies. Retrieved January 19, 2012.

Gilette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. 2012. Vagus Nerve Stimulator. Retrieved on January 23, 2012.


Content Last Modified on 3/29/2017 11:52:49 AM