KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

School Nurse Shortage May Prove Problematic During Flu Season

A nationwide shortage of school nurses may be problematic and could "undermine efforts to catch and control swine flu during what could be a deadly flu season." That's according to a USA Today analysis of "U.S. Census data from 2005 to 2007 [which] suggests that each school nurse cares, on average, for 971 students. In 13 states, the ratio is more than 2,000 to 1. In its own 2007 survey, the National Association of School Nurses found the ratio was 1,151 students per nurse. In either analysis, the nurse workload exceeds the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: one nurse per 750 students. ... Nationwide, an estimated 45% of public schools have a full-time nurse on staff, the nurses association says. Add part-time nurses and the figure jumps to 75%. But that leaves 25% of schools with no nurse at all" (Toppo, 8/10).

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