Monday, May 4, 2009

This Wednesday, May 6 - National School Nurse Day

Wednesday, May 6th is National School Nurses Day. School nurses are as important as a good principal. They help create a healthy, nuturing environment at a school, and they really are educators, not just support staff. Prevention and education are just important as the actual care they provide. Take some time on Wednesday with your children to say thanks to your school nurse!

From the National Association of School Nurses:
From the National Education Association:

If you think school nursing is all about flu shots, Band-Aids, and record-keeping, you haven't been inside a school lately. School health professionals juggle a complex array of medical and social issues, seeing thousands of students, and often moving from school to school throughout the district.
A typical schedule can encompass immunizations, health care screenings, hearing and vision testing; dealing with home accidents, diseases such as diabetes and asthma, student obesity, special needs like tube-feeding, preventing the spread of disease through blood exposure; and the fallout from mental, emotional, and social problems, including arranging for disadvantaged students to receive breakfast and clothing, and even helping students cope who are homeless or whose parents are incarcerated. For some students, the school nurse is the only health care professional they ever see.

Nor is their work confined to the nurse's office—they must also interact with other professionals such as teachers, doctors, child study teams, administrators, school counselors, coaches, parents, police officers, drug and substance abuse professionals, social workers, and other education support professionals.

Many Students, Few Nurses

About 50,000 school nurses are employed in America, but we need more. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, schools should have one nurse for every 750 students. The reality is a far cry from the recommendation; about 59% of schools have a higher ratio of students to available nurses. According to statistics from the National Association of School Nurses, in 2005, Michigan, for example, had about 3,611 students for every school nurse, and Utah had only one nurse for every 4,952 students. At the same time, the number of students with medical needs continues to increase.

Yet, school nurses rise to the challenge. Healers, comforters, educators, mentors, trainers, role models, critically-needed members of every school community—heroes all—NEA salutes school nurses this day and every day.

P.S. National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day - May 7, 2009
NASN is a supporter of this awareness day that promotes positive youth development, resilience, recovery, and the transformation of mental health services delivery for children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families.
Click here for more information.


fedupindcss said...

My mother was a school nurse in a K-3 school in the northeast for 20+ years. She was required to not only be an RN, but also have a bachelor's and be a certified teacher, so she could teach health. She went back to school at night to accomplish this. Her students included kids who were HIV positive, diabetic, profoundly disabled, Down's syndrome, and (really) on Prozac. She spent a huge amount of her time forcing parents to comply with immunization requirements and to come pick up their kids when they were sick (many didn't want to). She viewed all kids as potential public health threats, which they are. When she found out that meds were dispensed in GA schools by secretaries, she was horrified.

The fact that GA still doesn't have something as essential as a nurse in their schools, but pay for all manner of other personnel that do nothing, is a tragedy. Literally.

Anonymous said...

I was lucky to grow up (in a different state) with awesome school nurses in K-8 and high school. My Mom trusted them and really, really appreciated them.

Anonymous said...

When I saw this post I immediately thought "Why the heck would they put this up when there are NO SCHOOL NURSES IN DEKALB COUNTY AFTER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL??"
Having volunteered in the attendance office in middle school over the past 2 years, I can say it's very sad that I had to deal with the following: a) sick kids who couldnt reach their parents at work/home b) girls who had started their periods for the first time and needed help and c) kids who needed mandatory medication (asthma, allergy, ADHD, etc) but without a nurse had to "check out" their medicine and self-medicate.

Very sad. 11-13 yr olds should not have to live like this.

Cerebration said...

Yes, it's very lonely for kids in middle school. Things are better than they were though. In fact, when my kids were at Oak Grove and Kittredge, there were no nurses there at all. Once, my daughter was stung by about 100 fire ants from an unattended mound on the playground and the principal called me at home. I raced over with Benadryl and took her to the doc who gave her steroids when she saw her leg blowing up - but what if I hadn't been home?

When I grew up, the Jr High school nurse was my best friend's mom. She helped me through bad bouts with cramps, helped others with injuries and counseled some - and provided a safe place for some to lay who simply didn't feel well. I"m sure she dealt with diabetes and other diseases as well. She was vital to our school - and she was always busy.

My nephew in Ohio is diabetic - in 8th grade. He had an "episode" where his behavior just went off kilter - he was combative and yelling - very uncharacteristic - but the principal has a child with diabetes and recognized that my nephew had low blood sugar - and raced him to the nurse for testing. Sure enough - his level was at 30 - very low. So - between a calm, thoughtful principal and a responsive nurse, my nephew was back on track very quickly. This situation could have turned dire in other circumstances.

Cerebration said...

Conversely, a child I know was diagnosed with diabetes as a 7th grade student at Shamrock. Her mother had to ask for a teacher to volunteer to be trained in assisting her with her disease. So guess what - the Orchestra teacher became her diabetes consultant! Is that not ridiculous?

Anonymous said...

It is flat out criminal that we have all the ridiculous, unnecessary out of control personnel and salary bloat at the DCSS Central Office while the middle schools and high schools do not have certified school nurses.

Shame on Crawford Lewis, Bob Moseley and Marcus Turk. This even affects the academics side; Gloria Talley should be leading the charge for school nurses in each school.

I am sick and tired of my tax dollar going to so many administrators making over $100,000per year plus sweet benefits, like the three jokers in transportation and Jennifer Errion from Prevention/Intervention, when we have real needs in the schools themselves. None of these clowns would be making anywhere near these salaries in the business world. Crawford Lewis has enabled the bloat and bureaucracy during his decades as DCSS insider. School nurses make 1000x more of a difference than Central Office paper pushers.

Please tell your BOE members that school nurses are needed now in every DCSS school! They really make a difference.

Cerebration said...

I just posted that DCSS spends $2,502,932.00 on 44 "Military Science Teachers" in our high schools. (Avg salary $56,844.00)

Conversely, the system only spends 1,411,693.00 for 50 school nurses systemwide. (Avg salary $28,233.00)

Says a lot, doesn't it?