Monday, May 21, 2012

School nurses in Fayette cut as public-health dollars shrink

Takirah Sleet, 7, and school nurse Michelle Marra assess her
lunch to manage Takirah's diabetes. (H-L photo by 
Pablo Alcala)
As public health and education dollars shrink, school nurses are caught in the middle. The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is among those scaling back its school-nurse program due to cuts, even as "more students with greater medical needs are appearing in classrooms," reports Mary Meehan for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The cuts and the need present a difficult scenario: "In order to be educated, a student has to be healthy. How do you make that happen?" asked Mary Burch, president of the Kentucky School Nurse Association.

Schools nurses are not mandated in Kentucky, and the way school districts address the issue varies widely. Some districts use a nurse consultant to train school staff. The National Association of School Nurses recommends one school nurse for every 750 students. With 40,000 students, Fayette County falls short of meeting that level of care. The Fayette County school board helps to increase funding to keep nurses in place. About $600,000 would need to be reallocated. (Read more)

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