California School Nurses Caring for More Serious Medical Conditions
School nurses in California are caring for more students with serious health conditions, HealthyCal reports.
At the same time, state budget cuts are leading schools to reduce their nursing staffs.
Details of School Nurses' Challenges
Advances in the medical field mean that more children with health conditions such as cerebral palsy can attend school.
School nurses increasingly offer services that includeÂ administering insulin shots and changingÂ urinary catheter bags.
Meanwhile, state budget shortfalls have led to lower funding for schools. Linda Davis-Alldritt -- president of the National Association of School Nurses -- said schools facing tight budgets often choose to cut nursing staff.
California does not have a law mandating that a nurse work at each school, nor does it require a specific nurse-to-student ratio.
According to 2009 data from the National Association of School Nurses, the ratio of school nurses to students in California was one to 2,187.
According to HealthyCal, nurses who are working with students with more serious medical conditions might have less time to care for those with milder conditions that could indicate larger issues such as chronic hunger, child abuse and bullying.
Patricia Gomes -- health services coordinator for the Central Unified School District in Fresno -- added that teachers are being asked to treat minor conditions, such as scrapes, in the classroom.
Davis-Alldritt said that the National Association of School Nurses is seeking ways to help provide funding for school nurses, such as securing funds from the state or insurance companies (Bookwalter, HealthyCal, 12/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.