More is being demanded of the limited school nurses, for more children all across our state. With increased rates of chronic conditions like childhood asthma and diabetes and strict requirements to keep children current with immunizations, there’s never been a worse time to be short on school nurses.
Last month, a student with Type 1 diabetes, had a significant drop in her blood sugar during first period. By the time she made it to the school’s office, she convulsions had started. The school, with no nurse on site, called 911 and her mom. A school nurse would have immediately known that the situation could be resolved with a simple glucagon injection. From the WRAL story:
It’s a situation that could be repeated at anytime in Cumberland County, which has 27 nurses to serve 86 schools—a ratio that breaks down to about one nurse for every 2,300 students.
The state and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend one nurse for every 750 students.
As fast as Wake County is growing, we faced a similar shortfall in school nurse coverage. Caroline worked diligently on this issue. In 2014, county commissioners voted to pay for ten new nurses every year for four years.
Once all of those hires are made, Wake County will have 101 school nurses serving Wake County.