Thursday, August 26, 2010

School nurse, endangered species


The school nurse is no longer the woman in the office with the cot who puts a cool towel on your head if you barf in class. (Remember that sweeping sawdust the janitor used—that was scary stuff.)

Nurses hand out daily meds to kids, screen them, save their lives if they have a bad asthma attack, monitor epidemics, test hearing, and a range of other services.

Oh, who needs all that? Half the schools lack a full-time registered nurse. Often, they circulate by a few times a week or less. Some schools have a box of Band-aids in the principal’s office.

The states are broke (news flash). The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation did a report on this called Charting Nursing’s Future. In it they detail how states are going after grants, weird taxes, and partnerships with insurance companies and nursing schools to get those nurses out into the schools.

At the Federal level, legislation is gaining traction to require a nurse for every 1,000 students or fewer. Studies should be done (of course). And another office needs to be created (of course) to identify best practices.

For more info… http://www.rwif.org/files/research/cnf14/pdf.

I remember going to the nurse’s office. It was always a woman in those days. Now, I don’t know. She called your mother. Your mother was not always overly thrilled, though could still sound somewhat worried.

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