What to Read Next

Are School Nurses Really Necessary?

June 13, 2012

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

"Mom?" The little voice was shaky over the phone. "Can you come get me right now? I don't feel good." Unfortunately, I couldn't. As my son handed the phone back to the school nurse, I explained that I was in the middle of conducting an interview in the next county. "I'll get there as soon as I can," I promised, listening to the sad sniffles behind her. "It's okay," she reassured me. "I'll take care of him until you get here." It was an immense relief to know that he was in good hands. (At least until I got him home and discovered he was faking it because he didn't "feel like math today.") But I may have to go back to worrying as this little Leave it to Beaver moment may be a thing of the past, thanks to budget cuts in many school districts around the country.

Related: 25 Snacks Under 150 Calories

The Wall Street Journal reports that school nurses are being pink-slipped "from Philadelphia to San Diego, as public schools struggle to provide basic services while continuing to slash budgets." In some cases, nursing positions are being filled with cheaper paraprofessionals, but in many other cases the positions are gone all together leaving already over-burdened classroom teachers to fill in the gaps (and clean up the puke).

This is especially alarming now that so many of American kids require medication during the day thanks to increased cases of ADHD, autism, and even "adult" diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol. A school nurse's job isn't just hand holding and handing out lollipops; it often requires some serious medical knowledge like managing child doses of medications formulated for adults or recognizing anaphylactic shock due to a food allergy. Not to mention that they are often the only medical professional some children even have access to.

Related: 10 Questions Men Are Too Scared to Ask Women

The problem is that most of their work is done behind the scenes. For many parents, their only interaction with the school nurse is leaving a voice mail to excuse their child's absence. This lack of visibility hurts when it comes to budget cuts because when it comes down to eliminating a nurse's position or a teacher's position, voters only see class sizes increasing-although I'm certainly not suggesting that cutting teachers is a good idea, either. Health care crises are as ubiquitous as celebrity memoirs (and are about as easily understood too), and I'm afraid the school nurse may end up one more casualty in the war.

What's your opinion: Do we really need school nurses or should we be focusing on providing education? Have you or your child ever needed the school nurse? Got a good story to share?

More from REDBOOK:


Permissions: Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.

“It works. Officers were at my home in minutes."

Built by the leading engineers in the country with revolutionary wireless technology... Engineered to make your home feel like a fortress...

What Are The Pros & Cons Of A Reverse Mortgage?

More Americans are accessing their home equity to support their retirement years. Speak with a professional and see what you may qualify for today.

Ever Googled Someone? Do A "Deep Search" Instead

Entering a Name and State on this site could reveal info you thought wasn't available. Have you searched yourself or someone you know yet?

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Heartburn During Pregnancy

Dealing With Pregnancy is Hard Enough. Getting Heartburn While Pregnant is a Pain. Learn What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy.

The Platinum Card®

Earn Premium Travel Rewards With Your American Express® Card. Apply!

Help Erase Credit Card Debt with a Personal Loan

Are you paying too much on your credit cards? Consider a Personal Loan to help consolidate your payments.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Is your insurance comp Laughing Behind Your Back?

New Studies Show that if you drive less than 55 miles a day you can save a ton on auto insurance.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Join Disney Movie Club Today

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

Stop Paying Too Much For Your Prescriptions.

Drug prices vary wildly between pharmacies. GoodRx finds the lowest prices and discounts. Compare prices, print free coupons & save up to 80%.