School nurses discussed
CHARLES TOWN – Lisa Carper, coordinator of student support services for Jefferson County Schools, presented an overview of the school district’s nursing program and its changes and successes over the last several years at the county Board of Education meeting Monday night.
“(Nurses) have a role that makes them an integral part of students being successful in Jefferson County Schools,” Carper said.
“Within our schools they plan health services, they write health care plans, they implement health care plans, have connection with the health department. … All our screening programs fall within the school nurses description and of course the obvious: the Band-Aids, the first aid, the emergency care, often even mental health intervention,” she said.
Jefferson County Schools currently employs 11 full-time nurses, two part-time nurses and two substitute nurses, with a third substitute nurse approved during Monday night’s board meeting, to supervise 8,800 students. Three of the nurses are nationally certified.
“The (state) code suggests we at least meet a benchmark of one full-time school nurse for 1,500 students. The National Association of School Nurses recommends one per 750, and in our county we come very close to meeting that ratio,” Carper said.
A new state formula determining funding for school nurses debuted this year, stating that the number of nurses a school district employed in 2008 is how many nurses the state will fund. In 2008, Jefferson County Schools employed nine nurses, so any additional employed nurses are funded by levy money.
Carper averaged that more than 40,000 health office visits are made to school nurses in a school year. Throughout all schools, nurses assist 26 students with diabetes, 100 students with food, bee or nut allergies, 548 students with asthma, 82 students who receive a daily medication, 207 students who take medication as needed and 37 students with seizure disorders.
“I never cease to be amazed when I visit one of our school nurses at how busy the office is and the variety of issues that they address,” Carper said. “They really are an extraordinary group with a high level of commitment and professional standards.”
The Jefferson County Schools home webpage is currently displaying two videos on school nurses, including a tribute video and a video on pupil services which can be viewed at boe.jeff.k12.wv.us.
Jefferson County Schools will be recognizing May 9 as National School Nurse Day.