san diego polo club School nurse shortage highlights differences in area staffing levels

polo ralph lauren online School nurse shortage highlights differences in area staffing levels

Those visitors were on top of the more than 25 daily medicines and procedures from pills and insulin monitoring to catheters and tube feedings that Taylor and her health assistant, Diane Schonauer, must give to students, not to mention the paperwork to document it all. Lowry, a neighborhood school brimming with about 950 kids, has an unusually high number of students with special needs, and that warranted a full time registered nurse and full time health assistant to staff the clinic.Most schools aren’t so prepared, a fact recently brought to light by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has issued a new recommendation that every school have one full time registered nurse. The group says in the June issue of Pediatrics that it can no longer support its previous ratio of one nurse for every 750 students because of the “increasingly complex health needs” of today’s children.Staffing levels vary widely in school clinics across the Tampa Bay area.Hillsborough and Pasco counties have at least one trained staffer manning each school’s clinic every day, with nurses splitting their time between two or three schools.But at many schools in Pinellas County, no one staffs the clinic for a few days a week as nurses rotate among schools, and front office staffers are left to handle sick students. About 14 percent of the time, Pinellas students who go to the health room don’t return to class, according to the Florida Department of Health. That’s the highest rate among all four area school districts in a category that researchers say is major drag on student performance, including graduation rates.Hernando County, meanwhile, has the highest nurse to student ratio in the region: one for every 2,728 students, according to state health department figures for 2014, the latest year available.In its push for better staffing, the pediatrics academy says survival rates for infants born at 26 and 27 weeks of gestation have jumped to 80 and 90 percent, respectively,
san diego polo club School nurse shortage highlights differences in area staffing levels
leading to an increase in the number of children entering school with moderate to severe disabilities and learning or behavior problems. Chronic illnesses such as type 1 and type 2 diabetes and food allergies also are on the rise. And one out of every three children is overweight or obese.Before becoming a school nurse, Taylor spent years as a delivery room and neonatal intensive care nurse at several hospitals, including St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa. Years ago, she witnessed babies survive births at 27 weeks and now gravitates toward working with small children with special needs.”I’m seeing both ends of the spectrum now being here,” she said.For many students, the school nurse is their only access to health care.In Pasco County, the spacious clinic at Woodland Elementary is detached from the front office and housed with student services. The full time clinic assistant there, Cyndi Kirkpatrick, keeps bins of fresh clothing and shoes for children who stain or rip their school outfits. About 83 percent of students at the Zephyrhills school are on free and reduced lunch program.The school projects its enrollment to grow to over 1,000 in the coming school year, which will make it the second largest elementary in Pasco County. Principal Shauntte Butcher, who came to Woodland in February, secured funding for a second part time staffer in the clinic.That’s because front office staff were being pulled away to help Kirkpatrick on days when registered nurse Debbie Dee was away tending to students at Pasco Elementary and St. Anthony’s Catholic School, which contracts with the district for nursing services.”I can’t serve all of my students and parents if I’m continually having my front office staff being short and provide services in the clinic,” Butcher said. “When you hit that threshold of 1,000 you need to make sure you have staff in place to address that.”That’s why Sandy Hopp looks forward to coming into work on Tuesdays and Thursdays as the receptionist at Shore Acres Elementary in St. Petersburg. Those are the days when nurse Gina Norris is in and Hopp can focus on her desk duties.Stephanie Cox, a Shore Acres parent and co founder of Pinellas Parents for Healthy Schools the same parent group advocating for district wide recess said she hadn’t realized the school had a nurse until recently.”I couldn’t even picture her,” Cox said of the nurse. “She didn’t have a relationship with anyone at the school because she was seldom there.”Cox and her group are now fighting to bring awareness to the importance of having a nurse at every school.”The district can do better,” she said. “And the fact that other districts have nurses in their schools every day shows me that our district can have that if we provide the funding.”Funding for school health services in Florida districts comes from a patchwork of county health department and school district dollars and sometimes money from community partners. Palm Beach County has a special health care taxing district that generates enough revenue to spend $90.26 on health services per student far above any school system in Tampa Bay, and enough to give almost every school its own nurse.The Pinellas school district recently requested funding from the county commission to staff full time licensed practical nurses in seven elementary schools with F grades.School nurse supervisors for the Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough districts agree that direct funding from the state could help the shortage. School nurses today are paid around $20 an hour a salary that doesn’t compete with the private sector.”If the state would recognize the fact that school nurses can make a difference and that we need more of them. I would welcome that with open arms,” said Pasco County school health services supervisor Lisa Kern,
san diego polo club School nurse shortage highlights differences in area staffing levels
who also sits on the board of directors for the National Association of School Nurses. “It’s really all about the funding and money.”