Danville school board approves hiring second nurse

Published 7:38 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Having more than one nurse in the district is a growing need, said Ed McKinney, director of pupil personnel for the Danville Independent Schools, as he spoke to the district’s board of education Monday night.

“You don’t know how bad you need it until you have one. Until we had a district nurse, I don’t know that we understood how great the need was for it,” McKinney. “Those needs continue to grow every year.”

For the past three years, the district had additional nursing hours paid for by a grant from the Carol M. White Physical Education Program. This year, McKinney said, they were weaning off that additional staffing.

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“It’s proving to be extremely difficult,” he said. “We’re asking the board for an additional nursing position for the remainder of the year. The need is immense.”

He shared that some students have a greater need than others, needs that require regular attention. Having a nurse at the school allows them access to that, while still being able to attend classes.

“It’s not just checking fevers and checking coughs. It is sometimes very intense and it’s sometimes multiple things going on at the same time,” McKinney said.

Currently, Beverly Wolfe, the district’s nurse, spends about half a day in each of the district’s five schools. “With the needs of the individual students, it’s been hard for her to commit to more than that.”

McKinney said they would like to have another nurse to help through the remainder of the year. He said either a Licensed Practical Nurse or a Registered Nurse would be helpful and that there was little difference in the pay.

“We know there are a lot of other needs in the district, but this is one we feel like — one nurse for 1,850 students, plus preschoolers is a tough ratio,” McKinney said.

He said they’d let Wolfe and the new hire work out the best schedule between the schools. Wolfe said it would be best to encourage each nurse to focus on specific schools, to help establish those relationships with students.

Paul Dean, district finance officer, said the district had sufficient funds in a Medicaid reimbursement fund, which would cover the nursing position for the rest of the year.

Board member Steven Becker called it a good move. “It’s basically paid for through our billings and (is) revenue neutral,” he said.

Board member Troy McCowan made the vote, which was passed.