Phila. Board of Ed cut 100 RN positions; Principal, Secretary, Gym teachers give meds

  1. 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 (1957).
    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.
  2. Visit NRSKarenRN profile page

    About NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN Moderator

    Joined: Oct '00; Posts: 27,437; Likes: 13,651
    Utilization Review, prior Intake Mgr Home Care; from PA , US
    Specialty: 40 year(s) of experience in Home Care, Vents, Telemetry, Home infusion


  3. by   Isitpossible
    This is horrible and scary for our children. Will it take a fatality for Bd of Ed to realize that we need nurses in school. I cant fathom a teacher, principal or janitor giving me medication to a child. Shame on the board of Ed, and Im very interested to watch this play out.
  4. by   HazelLPN
    The school board clearly violated the nurse practice act and I'm guessing violated the contract with the PFT. I imagine that many very angry parents and grandparent will be voicing their concerns to this board of ed very soon.

    What teacher or administrator or school secretary would be willing to give meds? I work with teachers and they are strong advocates for the safety of the students. They know that these kids need a nurse.

    The NFT (National Federation of Teachers) isn't as strong as the NEA (National Education Association). Lets hope they come through for these school nurses...and the students they serve.
  5. by   mmc51264
    On the other side of the coin, I have a Type 1 child in school AND I was a school teacher. Here in NC, there is a nurse on the property maybe 1 1/2 days per week. Who would monitor my child's diabetes if there wasn't a nurse there? They are having similar issues in CA. My child also has to have Ritalin at lunch. the secretary gives it. They have no choice here. Teachers, TAs, bus drivers, and secretaries are all trained in diabetes care for my child. I had to be trained in administration of epipens.
    Now I am a nurse and I see the other side, but I need my child taken care of and here, anyway, they won'r pay to have a nurse in every school, not by a long shot.
  6. by   RNGriffin
    What about the diabetic, Asphyxia, students with lice, ill students...etc.? Will these students now be required to attend a school that provides medical staff? This is one of the most careless ways to cut down on cost in school districts. This is almost as appalling as hearing Kansas state has now stopped prosecuting domestic violence cases in order to cut state funding.

    So, we invest more in our prisons than in our schools. No wonder kids are opting for one of the other.