For many families that have children in elementary through high school level with special needs for medications, it has become a question as to whether or not the school that they are zoned for has a school nurse. Many schools in Florida do not have nurses on staff (Florida Association of School Nurses website, n.d.). In one article by the Orlando Sentinel, it notes that not all Orange County public schools have a nurse, in fact, their ratio out of 182 schools in Orange County, showed only 34 had nurses. One Orange County school mentioned that they have an RN and she helps a lot because it frees up the teacher to focus on her classroom instead of the child that is sick. The article went on to say that some tasks are delegated by the RN to non-clinical personnel, for instance, an assistant principal or secretary when the nurse is not in the school (Roth, 2011).
In my opinion, although parents of children administer injectables like epinephrine for allergic reactions or insulin, they are the parents that have been taught to watch for certain symptoms in their child that they see day in and day out. They have a working knowledge of the situation should it arise. The school personnel, may be taught when to administer medications like epinephrine or insulin, but if they have never used it, or administered it, how can they safely administer it? Will they know what symptoms to look for if there is a reaction?
In the state of Delaware, every school is required to have a registered nurse. Some schools that have them receive the funding through the school system grants, or in the community (Roth, 2011). I most recently went to a school that is private with an estimated tuition rate of $14,000 per year and service preschoolers through high school. The school has a large arts program and a population of about 2000 kids, each child receives an IPad upon admission to use for homework. They stated that they did not have a school nurse, if a child warranted medical treatment of medications or breathing treatments, this would not be the school for the child. I found it rather sad to see that value was placed more on the material things of an IPad (which I know can help advance a student) but really the computers work just fine; having a registered nurse to help in times of kids needing treatment, or a school teacher needing treatment is much more valuable to me.
Florida Association of School Nurses website. (n.d.). https://fasn.nursingnetwork.com/page/18381-school-nurses-save-money-
Roth, L. (2011, September 26). A nurse in every school? Not in Florida not even close. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved from http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-09-26/business/os-fewer-school-nurses-florida-20110925_1_school-nurses-practical-nurses-students-with-chronic-illnesses
Rosie Moore, RN, DNP
Source: Rosie’s Nurse Corner