With all that they do, it comes with much surprise that they are disappearing from our public school system.
“Only 45 percent of the nation’s public schools have a full-time on-site nurse,” said Carol Mithers, an author at parenting.com. “Thirty percent have one who works part-time — often dividing her hours between multiple school buildings — and a full 25 percent have no nurse at all.”
Budget cuts are the main culprit. School districts everywhere are forced to do more with less money. Programs that are not required by law are usually the first to go. Since few states require that a nurse be in every school, individual districts are left to decide if having a nurse is a priority.
So, who’s taking care of students while there’s no registered nurse in the building? Teachers, secretaries and other staff with no formal medical training are left to pick up the slack.
Since the decrease in school nurses, several incidents have occurred. One student died of an acute asthma attack when an unqualified “health aid” didn’t know to inject the child with an EpiPen after an allergic reaction.
Another mishap occurred when an aid didn’t make a student wash his hands before a diabetes test. The student had a spot of jelly on the tested finger causing a high blood-sugar reading and a miscalculated dose in insulin.
These “health aids” are in no way qualified to take on the vast array of health concerns that students face. They’re not able to decipher a bump on the head from a serious concussion. We are putting children’s health in jeopardy by not having an experienced R.N. on staff.
In my opinion, no matter what kind of budget school districts have to work with, law should require that all schools have a nurse in the building at all times.