Looking For Kids’ Health Care? Look to the School Nurse

(Wall Street Journal) With more school-age children showing up at school with increasingly complex medical issues, the school nurse is becoming a more important player in children’s health care, writes Laura Landro in today’s Wall Street Journal.

The push for more extensive on-site medical care comes after a long period of school budget cuts that have limited the presence of a health care staff at many public schools.  The numbers of nurses in schools has been shrinking in many states, Landro notes. “According to the National Association of School Nurses, just 45% of public schools have a full-time nurse; 25% have no nurse at all.”

It’s an issue that’s been addressed on The Juggle before.  Last October, the Journal’s Michelle Gerdes speculated that the dreaded call at work, informing a parent that their child was sick, was likely to come from a school secretary rather than the school nurse, as a result of shrinking school budgets.  Gerdes also laid out a plan for working with the school in case your child has a serious medical condition.

In her article today, Landro focuses on the growing number of medical clinics in rural and poor communities, located next to the school, where children can be treated for minor scrapes, as well as receive more extensive care.

At the Montefiore Medical Center, in the Bronx, N.Y., health care providers in 19 centers serve more than 20,000 students, providing everything from physical exams, immunizations, lab tests and treatments for asthma and diabetes, as well as pregnancy testing, prenatal care, mental health services and treatment for sexually transmitted disease.