Last year I explored the need for a nurse in the school, because my little boy who was born premature was entering kindergarten. I believe that today the question of whether there is a nurse on staff at schools has become a frequent question. I am just learning that many schools do not have nurses on staff (Florida Association of School Nurses website, n.d.). In doing some research about Florida nurses after exploring this for my own child, it drew my attention to find out for myself what options are available to families in school systems. In one article by the Orlando Sentinel, it notes that not all Orange County public schools have a nurse, in fact their ratio out of 182 schools in Orange County, showed only 34 had nurses. One Orange County school mentioned that they have an RN and she helps a lot because it frees up the teacher to focus on their classroom instead of the child that is sick. The article went on to say that some tasks are delegated by the RN to non-clinical personnel, for instance an assistant principal or secretary when the nurse is not in the school (Roth, 2011).
In my opinion, although parents of children administer injections like epinephrine for allergic reactions or insulin, they are the parents that have been taught to watch for certain symptoms in their child that they see day in and day out. They have a working knowledge of the situation should it arise. The school personnel, may be taught when to administer a medication like epinephrine or insulin, but if they have never used it, or administered it, how can they safely administer it? Will they know symptoms to look for if there is a reaction?
In the state of Delaware every school is required to have a registered nurse. Some schools that have them receive the funding through the school system grants, or in the community (Roth, 2011). I most recently went to a school that is private with an estimated tuition rate of $14,000 per year and service preschoolers through high school. The school has a large arts program and population of about 2000 kids, each child receives an IPad upon admission to use for homework. They stated that they did not have a school nurse, if a child warranted medical treatment of medications or breathing treatments, this would not be the school for the child. I found it rather sad to see that value was placed more on the material things of an IPad (which I know can help advance a student) but really the computers work just fine and having a registered nurse to help in times of kids needing treatment, or a school teacher needing treatment far outweighs the IPad.
My question then becomes to what extent is the Affordable Care Act going to benefit schools with the rise in costs of healthcare? Will every school have grants to hire a nurse? Will they have these mini clinics on site?
Florida Association of School Nurses website. (n.d.). https://fasn.nursingnetwork.com/page/18381-school-nurses-save-money-
Roth, L. (2011, September 26). A nurse in every school? Not in Florida not even close. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved from http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-09-26/business/os-fewer-school-nurses-florida-20110925_1_school-nurses-practical-nurses-students-with-chronic-illnesses
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