Education

Schools Across Country Face a School Nurse Shortage

Lack of full-time nurses considered a "crisis."


The school nurse was once seen as an institution at schools across the country. But according to a new report from CBS News, today only three out of five schools across the country have full-time school nurses.

The lack of full-time nurses is considered by some to be a national crisis, and in some cases could have devastating consequences.

Last October in Philadelphia, Rasheen Pressley's 9-year-old son Hasoun collapsed in the school cafeteria. At the hospital, he was pronounced dead of heart failure. According to CBS there was no school nurse on duty that day. A school district official says CPR-certified staff members tried to revive Hasoun, but it is unknown if a medically trained school nurse would have been able to save him. Rasheen told CBS she believes a nurse on duty would have made the difference.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least one registered nurse at every school, but there are no federal requirements.

Donna Mazyck, the executive director of the National Association of School Nurses, says 40 percent of schools across the country do not have a full-time nurse and 25 percent don't have a nurse at all.

Nurses who cover multiple schools report stress of trying to balance responsibilities in different buildings. They are sometimes called during an incident and need to direct non-medically trained staff members through first aid and other treatment.

Next month, Congress is expected to take up the Nurse Act, which would provide federal grants for schools to hire nurses..

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