School nurses provide health care for chronic acute illness, give medication and are first responders for in-school injuries. Student Health Services provided this staffing report on DeKalb Schools’ Nurses And Healthcare Workers (2/2/2015) for its elementary schools.
Currently, DeKalb Schools only funds healthcare employees in elementary schools. The board (with Marshall Orson leading the charge) and superintendent are looking into staffing the middle and high schools with nurses and healthcare workers. Across the metro Atlanta area, the following models are currently used to provide healthcare services:
Atlanta Public Schools (47,000 students)- 2 lead nurses, 19 district consulting nurses, and licensed nurses serving all schools. These nurses share schools and respond based on need.
Cobb County Schools (111,000 students)- 1 lead nurse, 5 district consulting nurses and licensed nurses in local schools.
Clayton County Schools (50,000 students)- 6 supervising nurses with CNA’s (Certified Nursing Assistants) and CMA’s (Certified Medical Assistants) serving local schools. Supervising nurses oversee the services of the CNA’s and CMA’s in the schools.
DeKalb County Schools (100,000 students)- 1 lead nurse, 3 consulting nurses and licensed nurses and clinic assistants supporting the elementary schools. Consulting nurses may assist in the middle school and high school setting, if needed.
Fulton County Schools (94,000 students)- 1 medical doctor, 1 lead nurse, 14 district cluster nurses and unlicensed clinic assistants in the local schools. Cluster nurses support the unlicensed persons in the schools.
Henry County Schools (40,000 students)- 1 lead nurse, licensed nurses and clinic assistants serving the all schools. Personnel assigned to multiple sites. Assignments are made by cluster.
Gwinnett County Schools (161,000 students)- 1 lead nurse, 10 cluster nurses, and registered nurses and clinic assistants in local schools.
Through analysis, the following trends were found:
- A few districts only hire licensed nurses. (APS, Cobb).
- Many districts utilize a cluster assignment format and assign personnel to multiple sites. (Gwinnett, Fulton, APS, Henry, Clayton)
- Many districts employ a lead nurse and supervising nurses to support the personnel in the local schools. (APS, Gwinnett, Henry, Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton)
Based on this analysis and considering the increased health needs of students in the district, the following three options are being presented to the DeKalb Board of Education for consideration:
Option 1: Hire 24 licensed nurses to support middle and high schools and keep current structure (55 licensed nurses and 21 unlicensed persons in the elementary schools) to support elementary schools in the district. Persons would work in feeder pattern. This would be an expansion of the current model in DeKalb and is similar to the model in Gwinnett County Schools.
Option 2: Hire 24 CNA’s (Certified Nursing Assistants) to work in the middle and high schools and reassign current licensed nurses (55) to work in clusters/regions to support the unlicensed persons and CNA’s throughout the district. This model is similar to the service delivery in Clayton County Schools.
Option 3: Reassign currently employed 55 licensed nurses that work in the elementary schools to support all schools throughout the district. The nurses would be assigned by clusters/ regions and would be assigned to schools based on acuity of need. This model is similar to the service delivery in Atlanta Public Schools and would save the district money, as new hires would not be needed.
2014-15 Placement of Health Personnel (approximately $400,000)
March, 2015 – The Student Support Department will work with Human Resources to post positions on PATS. Advertisements will be placed in local trade publication and at local schools with students graduating with appropriate credential.
April, 2015 – Interviewing and Hiring process will be coordinated with Human Resources.
2015-16 Placement of Health Personnel (approximately $880,000)
June/July, 2015- The Student Support Department will work with Human Resources to post positions on PATS. Advertisements will be placed in local trade publication and at local schools with students graduating with appropriate credential.
July/August, 2015- Interviewing and Hiring process will be coordinated with Human Resources
To help retain nurses that serve our students, consideration should be given to reclassifying the workday for nurses from 6 hours to 8 hours. This increase in salary would help to make hiring competitive with other markets that might pull from qualified candidates. Additionally, the classification should be the same among regular education nurses and special education nurses. Currently, there is a major difference in the salaries and regular education nurses leave to work for the special education program because of salary.
To provide support to all schools, consideration should be given to increasing the number of district consulting nurses from 3 to 6 to better support the persons serving the local schools.
Stan, in reviewing the QBE Payment advice on the GADOE site for DCSS – there is a category “Nursing Services” in which an amount of $157,000 was credited to DCSS in February. Do you know if this is earmarked for the elementary school “nurses” or for some other purpose?
Safety of our children is definately done ‘on the cheap’ in DCS.
When children become ill or have medical needs in MS & HS, the only thing the school does is call the parents for pick up. Thousands of children and only a phone call? Bodies change, medical complexities of children in public schools, remember…we serve ALL kids, unlike charters & private schools…and parents get a call. Some children just need to take meds, rest, or monitor blood sugars, etc.
Not in DCS – go home!
As a resident paying high taxes, and watching the waste and theft by shysters in DC & DCS, compromizing our children’s safety – beyond belief. But, that’s been the norm. Anyone still surprised why residents want to secede from DC?
We must have a CNA type position in all our schools. Across the country, public schools are being plundered of financial and personnel resources, and of course, DCS immitates any deal where $M are sucked away from kids & teachers. Children have lost their lives because the schools did not provide the clinical support needed on site.
Are we waiting until such a crisis?
Do you have the link to the DOE site? Generally speaking, all the QBE money goes into one big general fund. From there, it can be spent as the district sees fit in the general operating budget. When it comes to funding schools, this is why you have a “point system” that nobody understands or explains how it works. I have yet to receive clarity on the formula for funding schools.
My biggest concern is that CNA’s are not trained to dispense medicines. I would not support hiring CNA’s into any school-based role, unless the district provides additional training in first aid and medication administration.
I support hiring more nurses to have someone who is licensed at each middle and high school. This will create a problem. Where will the “clinic” be located? All future construction and renovation projects need to include a school “clinic.”
Stan: below is the link. Choose 2015 “Set FYI”. Under “Select Report”, choose “QBE008 – System Payment Advice for Month”. I was reviewing the February 2015 deposit.