After study showing shortage, why we need school nurses

National school nurse shortage

GOREVILLE, IL (KFVS) - A recent study by CBS finds that only three out of five schools have a full-time school nurse, a new statistic bringing with it some understandable worry to American parents.

According to the National Education Association, there are around 750 students per school nurse in Missouri, about 1,900 in Kentucky, and almost 2,900 in Illinois.

Heartland News reached out to the school nurse in rural Goreville, Treca McConnell, to ask what she thought about such a shortage of school nurses.

“We’re seeing more with diabetes, we’re seeing more with asthma, more with peanut allergies,” she said, “so I think it’s dangerous.”

Nurse McConnell says she sees about 30 students on a daily basis, and 15 to give daily medications to.

She also said she will see members of the staff for blood pressure checks and other things of that nature.

Other than that, McConnell thinks her role as the school nurse isn’t just to treat minor scrapes and bruises, but to be there as an adult the students can go to who isn’t a teacher.

“You know, they may come in crying, saying they don’t feel well,” she said. "When actually it’s that somebody’s bullying them or it’s an emotional issue they have at home.”

If she wasn’t there, she said all her responsibilities - including giving medications and emergency treatment to the children - would fall on administrative staff before first responders arrive. Which she thinks is not good.

“Studies show that somebody who’s not certified or have a license would be three times more likely to make a mistake,” she said.

Right now there are no federal regulations on school nurses, but next month, legislation will be reintroduced in the Nation’s Capital called ‘The Nurse Act’ that would provide grant funding to schools that want to hire nurses.

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