I was just wondering if any of you school nurses have had to deal with transporting students in your personal vehicle? In our district, our job description states that we will transport students home, to the doctor, etc. However, lately it has been an issue about how we are covered insurance-wise in case of an accident while having the kids in our car. (I must admit I stirred up a bit of that trouble maker me!) The reason is I have the "difficult principal" that had been used to ordering a nurse she had employed for 9 yrs prior to me to do questionalbe things and the nurse ( I know her and she admits she is too wishy washy), would do whatever she was told without asking questions.
I am expected to transport students for all kinds of things that are not necessary. I don't mind taking someone home occaisionally if they are sick and have no other way. But the concern is always there that if there is an accident our district policy is to have us file on our personal insurance first and what is not covered will then be turned over to the districts insurance to cover. But if our own insurance company refuses to cover the child because we are using our personal vehicle for employment related work, we may be forced to sue in order to retrieve reimbursement for damages.
Just curious to know if other school nurse deal with this and how you handle it in your district.
Dec 31, '03
How does your sitrict policy read regarding employees transporting students in personal vehicles? Some districts prohibit it under any circumstance. What is the school board associations stance in your state on this issue? Go to the National School Boards Association and click on "state associations" (map of US). http://www.nsba.org
In my last district, no one could transport a student unless the car was inspected by a district engineer as safe and you submitted to a DMV report of your driver's record, verified auto insurance, and the parents' signed permission. This applied to very few employees in a very large district. None of the nurses were on the list for such an inspection and none of us were to transport a child for any reason. We did have a similar policy about liability for insurance however it referred to using our personal vehicles to travel to meetings, home visits or for nurses who traveled between schools during district hours, not for transporting children.
Conversely, in a private boarding school I worked for, it was an expectation to transport students to doctor's & dentist appointments and such.
I did a google search www.google.com using the search term "school employees transporting students in personal vehicles" and had a lot of hits of sample school policies.
I do not have my Schwab and Gelfman legal book home, and I would suggest checking that for this issue. N. Schwab & M. Gelfman (Eds.) Legal issues in school health services: A resource for school nurses, administrators and attorneys. North Branch, MN: Sunrise River Press.
I think you are correct to be cautious and you were prudent to check with your insurance company about using your car for this purpose. What happens in the health office when you are gone? Is transporting part of your job descrption? Are you required to have a car?
Jan 1, '04
Thanks for your reply. Yes it is in our job description. When I am away from the school, usually no one is there in my place. The kids go to the office and usually they are told to wait in front of the office for my return or to come back later. If there is something serious they call the nurse at the neighboring school. I don;t transport students except as a last resort policy, maybe a couple of times per year. They do not like this. They wrote on my evaluation that I am below standards in this area. No one has ever asked me for an insurance card, driver's license, etc. Sometimes they want me to put the child in my car to go out and see if the parent is home. This is without the paren't permission. It all makes me a little nervous. I am afraid if something happened, they would not back me up.
Thanks again. I will look up the sites you mentioned.
Jan 2, '04
I`m in my second year as a School Nurse and in the beginning I really had the same question.
Should I or shouldn`t I take children with my car. After I talked to many poeple I decided not to do it. I don`t want to have all my life a bad councient or even worser because I tranporteded a kid to the hospital and then some bad happen. I really too afraid.
If a kid get hurt really bad I will allways call the parents or then the ambulance. Even if I would have a car-insurance for transportation I woun`t do it.
Here in Germany we have pretty good insurance for everything, but I prefer to go trouble out of the way.
Jan 2, '04
I have to transport. The school district is required to cover us because they require us to do it. I limit it the best that I can. I usually only take home very sick children who's parents do not have transportation or cab fair. I will not take home a BD student or unruly student without another adult along. I try to really be careful on this, but I have been told that I have to do it. I also belong to a union which covers me with liability insurance.
Jan 4, '04
In my district we are not allowed to transport students - only the principals are given permission. Liability is one of the issues, but sexual harassment has also been mentioned. If our principal (who is male) needs to transport a female student home, I may accompany him if I am available. If I am not, another staff member must ride along.
There are times I would like to be able to transport. Conversely, I can see how easy it would be to take advantage of the policy if it were available. Alot of our students come from families that often do not have vehicles. Although I wouldn't mind helping out in an emergency, I wouldn't want to become their taxi service. I simply don't have the time.
Jan 7, '04
Our district lets only principals under certain circumstances transport students due to the liability and insurance issues. Your school board/superintendant should be informed of your state's nursing policy statement, and I would not do it personally unless the district provided that insurance coverage.
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