School nurses help avert medical costs lost in teachers and parents of school children, a US study shows.
The research based in the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia compared money spent in putting nurses full-time in schools and money saved in decreasing doctors’ visits as well as keeping parents and teachers at work.
The result – money is saved when putting school nurses at full-time work.In the past years, many school districts in the U.S. cut school nurses’ hours of work to decrease healthcare costs.
In University Park Creative Arts School in Charlotte, North Carolina, a nurse only works two days a week due to fund issues. So, when a seizure incident by one of the students occurred a few months ago, teachers trained as first responders had to call nearby schools in hopes of finding a nurse.
This new research show how full-time school nurses actually help not only save lives but another practical concern – money.
The How of Saving
Researchers led by Anne Sheetz, retired Director of School Health Services of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, showed how the Massachusetts full-time program for nurses, which was the object of the study helped in saving.
In the state’s record for school year 2009 to 2010, nurses were paid $ 79 million in total caring for 477,000 students covered by the program. Lesser compared to the calculated total of $129.1 million that would have been lost to teacher and parent productivity losses and the actual cost of the health services availed outside the schools with no nurses.
They further detailed to show how every $ 1 spent in a full-time nurse program actually saves $ 2.20.
These data shown, says researchers, is not yet complete as emergency room visits and hospitalizations are not counted in the losses in the absence of school nurses.
School Nursing Scenario
School nurses perform dozens of procedures in schools.
They utilize a so-called standard nursing process. This includes steps as assessment, diagnosis, outcome identification, planning, implementation and evaluation (ADOPIE). Specifically, school nurses help in managing chronic diseases as heart problems and diabetes as well as mental health matter; these in addition to the usual administration of immunizations, screening tests and first aid measures for various injuries. They also further extend their work to involve the other members of the school community, teaching them health-related issues.
As many as 60 to 70 school children are catered by a school nurse in a day, one of the researchers say.
In general, registered nurses are given a median pay of $ 65, 000 a year or roughly Php 2.79 million, according to a 2012 data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Two doctors who worked in the Massachusetts health services program (Dr. Maryanne Quinn and Dr. Michael Pistiner ) ,recognized the program’s impact on school children’s health.
Dr. Pistiner went further to say that the new research could help in putting school nurses in full-time jobs a priority.
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Registered Nurses, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm (visited May 20, 2014).
- Texas Department of State Health Services Child Health and Safety Branch – School Health Program www.dshs.state.tx.us/schoolhealth/default.shtm