As it stands, Nashville students who get sick or injured may not have a nurse to run to. A proposal made Wednesday seeks to change this by stationing nurses in every Metro School.
The city’s school nurses typically travel among two or three schools each day to administer the treatments required by doctors — such as insulin for diabetes.
Those tasks have increased 85 percent in the past decade, said Metro Health Director Bill Paul. So the children who complain of sickness, or who fall on the playground, don’t get the same attention.
“So right now in Metro Schools, we have 30,000 students that do not have a nurse on site daily,” he said. “Schools are going to struggle if we’re not able to take care of the whole child.”
Practically, the shortage of nurses means teachers spend about 20 minutes per day on health — and principals spend about 60 minutes per day as stand-in nurses, he said.
Tony Majors, with the district, filled in the picture during the pitch to Mayor Megan Barry: “We’re asking secretaries, teachers and administrators,” he said, “to make health decisions that are best made by health care professionals, and this plan seeks to do that.”
Officials have three goals for the expanded nursing service: to treat and return more kids to class, to cut down on absenteeism and to communicate better with parents. They would plan to measure each element.
The mayor will have to consider the money: A nurse in every school would eventually cost $12 million per year, starting with $4 million requested for next year.