Parents Concerned about School Nurse Shortage

Parents Concerned about School Nurse Shortage

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MOBILE, Ala. -

One Mobile father gets a call no parent wants to get—the school nurse telling him his son cannot breathe. The boy is alright, but when the father heard there are schools where there is not a full-time nurse, he wanted to find out why.

Mobile County tries its best to provide nurses to those students who need them on-on-one. Meanwhile, there is a school nurse shortage in the area because the county has not seen the funding it requires from the state.

Scott Raynor was at work Tuesday when he got a call from his son's school nurse.

"Said that Hayden was actually choking," says Raynor.

His son, Hayden had a quarter lodged in his throat.

"In the time that his teacher ran him from his room down to the office, said his lips were blue and all."

They performed the Heimlich maneuver several times and finally Hayden coughed up the coin. But then Raynor and his fiancé, a licensed nurse, heard something that troubled them.

"I was told by the school principal that there is not a school nurse at every school every day that the children are in school and if this would've happened on a day the school nurse was not there, then something really bad could have happened," says Lori Neves.

Supervisor of Health and Social Services, Dr. Wanda Hannon says while the RN at JE Turner Elementary divides her time between five other schools, there is an LPN stationed on the campus.

There are 89 schools and 88 school nurses. Hannon tells me 15 of those are dedicated to students who require full time assistance throughout the entire school day—those are one-on-one nurses. Another 17 nurses travel, dividing their time between six schools in the system. That leaves 56 nurses who spend their whole day at one campus.

"I want to assure all the parents out there that we do have trained staff that are on the campus at all times that can perform first aid and CPR. But every child deserves a nurse in the building all day, every day," says Dr. Hannon.

Hannon says the county spends about $3.5 million on nurses, while they only get $1.7 million from the state. But it used to be less than that. The last cut in funding caused them to lose 12 nurses. It all depends on the economy. Meanwhile, Raynor is grateful for the nurse who was at J. E. Turner Elementary Tuesday afternoon.

"They did an excellent job. His teacher immediately responded. Everybody did what they were supposed to do."

Raynor and his fiancé will be attending a school board meeting May 29th at 6pm to talk with school board members about their concern.

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