Philadelphia Inquirer 2/1/12:
PFT Union files state complaint over Philly nursing cuts
In an attempt to halt the practice of having principals, secretaries, gym teachers and other non-medical personnel administer medication to city school children, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has filed a formal complaint with the state health department, officials announced today.
The complaint charges that the Philadelphia School District is "endangering the lives of the school children it is required to protect....
...In the complaint, union attorneys cited "wholesale violations" of provisions of the the Department of Health's Guidelines for Pennsylvania Schools for Administration of Medications and Emergency Care.
Specifically, the district has violated the state's rules by directing non-medical professionals to administer medications and by requiring school nurses to train other staffers in how to give medications, the union said....
PA Dept of Education has a Student-to-Nurse Ratio requiring schools to provide one certified school nurse per 1500 students. 24 P.S. 14-1402
(1966) and 14-1410
RN's must obtain additional education post basic education program and obtain school nurse certificate (~15 college credits).
028 PA Code 23.51-.53B
(1962) requires private, parochial, and public school children to receive nursing services through the public school system. The number of students to be served by a school nurse shall be determined by the school administrator by the number of school, the distance and travel time between schools, and special health needs of the areas.
The Department of Education requires schools to develop policies and procedures for the administration of medication per 022 PA Code 12.41
(2005). The Department of Health provides guidance for schools on the development of this policy in the Guidelines for Pennsylvania Schools for the Administration of Medications and Emergency Care
(2010). The Guidelines outline state policies regarding the administration of medication.
The Professional Nursing Law and the Practical Nursing Law
do not allow nursing functions, including the administration of medication, to be delegated to non-licensed personnel. Consequently, a certified school nurse or other licensed personnel (RN, LPN) cannot lawfully delegate the nursing function of medication administration to the principal, teacher or administrative personnel.
It will be interesting to watch this development.