NJ School Nurse Shortage - My9 New Jersey

NJ School Nurse Shortage

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Clark, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

In New Jersey, chronic illness in children is going up but the amount of school nurses is staying stagnant if not going down.

Clark resident Jill Burkhard is experiencing this school nurse problem firsthand. Her son was diagnosed with diabetes at the beginning of the year, so she immediately reached out to her son’s school Carl H. Kumpf Middle School and found out that the nurse had retired last June and had not been replaced.

After several months she contacted the school again only to find out that the school still did not have a nurse. “They claim that they had a couple of subs and they had names on paper, but they could not get these people to come in when they needed a sub,” Burkhard said.

Clark Superintendent Kenneth Knops said that the vacancy still hasn’t been filled yet and that they are looking for someone who is fully qualified to come in full time. A meeting is being held on November 12th where the school district will try and solve the situation.

Judith Woop, Executive Director of the NJ School Nurse Association, confirmed that there has not been a significant increase in school nurses in the past 10 years even though there has been an increase in students.

The most critical thing she said is that there are considerably higher numbers of children who have chronic illness, who need special care, daily medicine, and more that is not being accounted for. With increased access to the classroom and a rise in the number of children living with diabetes, allergies and other chronic conditions, school nurses are more responsible than ever for a wide range of daily care.

Another problem that exists is that the school districts don’t have enough nurses to provide for schools. In the case where a nurse may be out and a substitute is needed they rely heavily on outside companies, like BAYADA Home Health Care for substitute nurses.

Here in New Jersey there is 1 nurse for every 533 students.

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