School Districts Grapple With Shortage of School Nurses, Face Pushback
Last week, the California chapter of the American Nurses Association filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Education, challenging the department's request for volunteer school employees to administer insulin to students with diabetes, the Los Angeles Daily News reports (News low in story).
In a statement, ANA President Rebecca Patton said, "Not only is the California Department of Education breaking state law with this directive by violating the established scope of nursing practice, but by negating the need for licensed nurses to administer insulin, they are placing the children at risk."
A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, said that even if nurses trained volunteer teachers to provide the shots, teachers would not have the same level of training to respond to a medical emergency.
The suit comes as school districts nationwide are experiencing shortages of school nurses, with the Los Angeles Unified School District and California schools in general missing federal guidelines for nurse to student rations. Federal guidelines suggest a ration of 1:750, compared with 1:1,167 in LAUSD and 1:2,300 statewide.
In June, Reps. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) introduced federal legislation that would direct the HHS secretary to provide grants to help states reduce nurse-to-student ratios (Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, 8/8).