Study: More school nurses in NC could cost $79 million

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) –  When your child is sent to the nurses’ office at school, who checks them out?

A new study says 60 percent of the time medical procedures are performed by school employees who are not nurses.

The General Assembly estimates it could cost up to $80 million for more school nurses.

Local school nurses like Angie Stroud said it’s worth the money.

“Most people do not understand what school nurses do,” said Stroud. “They just assume we don’t do much but we really are really involved with the children.”

Stomach aches, headaches and even a cut to the finger are some of the common symptoms students come to Stroud for. Many times symptoms can be much more severe.

“We have children here that require assistance for different things such as you know they may require tube feeding,” said Stroud. “We have students that require injections throughout the day.”

Stroud is one of only seven school nurses in Lenoir County responsible for serving and caring for more than 9,000 students.

She only spends time at her school office three times a week.

“Right now, a lot of situations we don’t get to handle as well as we would like to,” Stroud said. “We kind of have to identify the higher needs and try to meet those first and other needs are not getting met as well as they could be.”

According to a new study by the General Assembly the state would need to dedicate up to $79 million a year to meet the recommended nurse to student ratio of one nurse for every 750 students.

Lenoir County doesn’t come close.

Lead nurse Nicole Sugg said there is one nurse for every 1,316 students. They also rely on trained school faculty to treat students when in an emergency.

“That’s not like having a nurse body on campus every day to take care of those needs,” said Sugg.

“It’s a job that is very rewarding,” said Stroud. “You get to know that families, you get to know the students and you’re here to make sure they are learning how to handle illness or whatever it may be.”

To read more about the study click here

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