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School Nurses...


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Julie Wilson Find out more about Julie Wilson
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  • School Nurses...

    I need help!

    My 16 year old daughter was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy last summer. She has a pacemaker/defibrillator and she has to take meds right at the times her doctor has prescribed or she could have an episode. About 3 months ago we were told that the school nurse was only going to be at the school part time, spreading her self between two schools. My husband and I have called the Dean and we both got the same answer. It’s cheaper to have a RN half time and get a Para for the other half of the time. My daughter had heart frailer last week at school. The RN was there, and that was a good thing, and her defibrillator worked, the ambulance was called and she was taken to the hospital. BUT... a fear him my husband and my self, what if, what if the RN wasn’t there? we made another call to the dean, again he told us how much this would benefit us (we still don’t see how it does) but with getting no where we hung up. I though there was a law about schools having an RN there at all time? I may be wrong and I can’t find any information on it. The day after we called they asked the RN for her resignation, she refused. How can a school get away with not having a RN there, not just part time, but full time?? We can’t get answers... when we call all we get is the run around. Has this happen to any of you? I don’t want to have to send my daughter 15 miles away to a school with and full time RN, but I will if I have to.

  • #2
    Our schools don't have ANY nurses. The school secretaries administer the medications and call parents when kids break their fingers in PE. (My daughter has done the latter twice. ) I completely understand your concerns. I have them too. I'm not sure what can be done, though.


    Husband has HCM.
    3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.


    • #3

      I'm sorry to hear of the difficulties that you have been having!

      Unfortunately, i don't know if there's much that can be done. Our health staff here at the school i'm attending is part-time as well, but to be honest i'm not sure if i would trust anything they could do for me anyway. It's hard enough to find a good cardiologist who understands HCM. Finding a school nurse who could effectively treat anything HCM-related must be next to impossible.

      School nurses are wonderful at what they do... but their limited time and resources on campus must necessarily be devoted to the everyday kinds of things that effect the majority of students. I don't know if we can fault them for that. They do try their best i think.

      Thankfully your daughter has the extra security of an ICD, which should certainly give you some peace of mind. Other than that, please do make sure that the school has all the information they need to treat your daughter should an event arise. Medical info... phone numbers... what to do for her and when... etc. That's about the best any of us can do.

      Please take care, and welcome to the HCMA.

      "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."


      • #4
        My mother is actually a school nurse, and is assigned to EIGHT schools. She has primarily elementary schools and two middle schools. SHe is responsible for insulin administration to 3 kids at 2 different schools every day. The nurses generally arent the problem- its the Board of Education you need to address. Our county has 8 nurses for the whole county. Two are assigned fulltime to the two large high schools, but the other 6 are divided between the remianing schools, with one assigned to only the group of kids considered severe/profound (feeding tubes, etc.) Even to get the nurses full time at the 2 big high schools, they had to get grant money and collaborate with the local youth health centers.

        Good luck to you and your daughter!

        mother of Kyle, now 19 yrs old- diagnosed after 5 years and 2 years later "undiagnosed"


        • #5
          I worked in the Superintendent's Office in Pennsylvania. We had one full-time nurse that took turns being at the middle and high schools, and one full-time nurse that would go to the elementary and parochial school. When the nurse wasn't in the building, the principal's secretary would admister medications, take care of cuts and scrapes, etc. It seems this is the way it is in many states.
          I wish I could say something positive in your situation.
          Good luck.


          • #6
            Hello Julie,
            Welcome to the board. I hope you find the answers you need and your daughter visits us, too.

            I agree with Jill, the Board of Education, or your School Board, or the School District Administrators (everyone calls them something different) should be included in the solution to your situation. Every state runs their school systems differently, under different guidelines, and health and safety requirements. You could also check at the State Level to get the guidelines for the state of Nebraska. The school nurses are very valuable to the safety of our children. If you don't show the School/District Administrators how valuable they are to your daughter's safety, they just go about their business without that knowledge.

            Maybe you can find someone in the District that is able to help you with your concerns. Is there a district omsbud-person (a person that works out conflicts between parents and school personnel) or someone that is personally connected to your plight?

            Either way, you have a lot of talking to do and/or letter writing to get the school district officials to become aware of this problem. One of the problems that we all face as a nation is to show our societies that "children do have heart disease" and they need special care.

            We need nurses in each school to provide good health and safety guidelines for all children. Plus, we need Automatic External Defibrillators (AED's) in our schools to assist with cardiac issues if the fire department can't get there in the appropriate amount of time (within 3 - 5 minutes). With that we need trained personnel to administer the AED shocks when necessary.

            Good luck and remember you are the BEST health advocate for your child. Your voice will be heard, so don't give up!
            Best Regards,
            Sharon Bates


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