The Water Cooler – School Nurses

January 13, 2014 12:00 pm · 46 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday in the noon hour.

As we first reported last week, a school nurse saved the life of a student in Concord by performing CPR after the student passed out and stopped breathing.

Later, we found out the school nurse is only on campus a few days a week, and spends time at other campuses throughout the district.

Do you think it should be a requirement for every school to have a nurse on campus during regular school hours, or do you think it would be ok to have a rotating nurse if the teachers/office staff were trained to perform CPR?

Talk about it….

Incognito January 13, 2014 at 12:09 PM

If my memory serves me right, when I was in school (years ago) a school nurse was on the premises all day. With all the budget cuts, it doesn’t surprise me if nurses are not at one school every day, all day. At most places where I’ve worked, the employer has implemented safety programs which includes the employees to receive CPR training – this should definitely be a part of each school… you never know if you will someday be put in the position to have to save someone’s life.

Dorothy January 13, 2014 at 12:13 PM

All of the above? Yes, there should be a school nurse during school hours each school day. Yes, teachers/office staff should be trained in CPR.

Sorry kids, while the politicians brag about how much they help improve the schools there is a lot kids are missing. No school nurse during school hours each day, not much in the classroom teaching, not much supplied by the schools at all – including teachers that teach and staff that work.

Has anyone visited a school lately? Do it at each level and see for yourself. Of course you will have to get a pass or permission first.

Mark January 13, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Probably not necessary, but all staff should have CPR/First AID/AED training.

The Mamba January 13, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Yeah, I think having a nurse on every campus would be a great idea, but I also think every school should have PE, art and music programs as well. While we’re at it, every student should have laptop and every classroom should be state of the art. Our students’ scores would be the best in the U.S., heck, the whole wide world! For lunch every day, students would eat grass fed, free range, GMO free meals and never eat high fructose corn syrup! And if a child were ever bullied, his or her classmates would gather ’round him or her and sing an upbeat song about smiles and then they would all hug (but not too huggy, ifyouknowwhatimean) and go home.

Piggly Wiggly January 13, 2014 at 12:25 PM

I remember in the 60’s we had a school nurse everyday and their was always a line outside her door. She would take temps and let the child rest if needed, bandage bruises. it made Parents feel safer. I remember a boy stabbed me in the leg with a pencil and she gave me a shot for it.
We also had a great cafeteria with good food and showers. Why has it gone so far downhill? Kids hate school now, can’t blame them!
Teachers and staff are trained in CPR, I was a teachers aide in the 90’s and it was a requirement.

. January 13, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Thought they did away with nurses to pay salary of that lawyer.

MadMom January 13, 2014 at 12:58 PM

I wish every school could have a nurse on staff. Every day, all day. We have been lucky so far, but the times are changing. There are so many children in our schools with health issues. We had better change with these times. That means going Old School.

ladybug January 13, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Yes, I think a nurse should be on campus at all times. I had a similar cituation happen in my family. It was my nephews 2nd day of schoold and he was running around at recess and suddenly collapsed. The school nurse saw this happen, rushed to him and immediately gave him CPR. He was unconscious and not breathing. The paramedics were called and rushed him to the hospital. We found out that my nephew has Long QT Syndrome. We also found out that the nurse is only at the school 2 days per week. The nurse saved my nephews life. By providing the CPR my nephew was able to get air to his brain and it prevented long term disabilities. I think it is very important to have a nurse at schools at all times. The doctors told us the only way of knowing you have Long QT Syndrome is when something like this happens. I’m very thankful the nurse was at the school the day this happened.

Sacto Rob January 13, 2014 at 1:08 PM

@ #4 The Mamba summed it up perfectly; there are a lot of things that would be nice to have, but we live in a world of limits.
It’s also worth noting that while California has some of the lowest per/pupil spending in the U.S. (even though HALF the state budget goes to schools), California teachers are among the highest paid in the U.S. The unions are doing a great job looking out for teachers. It’s students, and the educational product, that’s suffering.

Claire January 13, 2014 at 1:10 PM

I think the schools should have a nurse on staff all day, and I think the teachers/staff should be trained in CPR as well.\

Common sense.

Steve January 13, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Why can’t we have staff trained in CPR it would save more lives then just one nurse on campus.

Spencer January 13, 2014 at 1:42 PM

OK, here is a fun fact:
Budget cuts have resulted in no full-time school nurses, as well as ridiculously bloated class sizes.
Somehow, the schools find the money to provide daily meals, at NO COST, for illegal aliens. They also provide these free meals to illegals in the summertime, when school is out of session.
These priorities are moronic.
No wonder so many filthy illegals flock to this state.They get a LITERAL free meal ticket.

Sumsocool January 13, 2014 at 1:45 PM

School bus drivers have to take first aid, why not teachers and all school employees.

MDUSD Parent January 13, 2014 at 2:07 PM

I believe all teachers are required to be CPR certified in order to be credentialed. I don’t know if non-credentialed teachers are CPR certified. Many teachers at charter and private schools are not credentialed.

A school nurse would do more than perform CPR. As it stands today, office staff do some of the work that nurses used to do. They’re the ones who take care of cuts and bruises, upset stomachs, check for lice, etc. It would be much safer for our kids if we had people who were trained to do that – nurses – at each school full-time. Maybe they could even teach nutrition, basic hygiene, and sex ed.

WCreeker January 13, 2014 at 2:10 PM

I think all school staff should be trained for CPR/basic first aid. I don’t think a school nurse needs to be present all day every day.

Are all you parents trained in CPR/basic first aid? If not, do you pay a nurse to come hang around your house whenever your kids are home?

VikingPrincess January 13, 2014 at 2:35 PM

After reading the post and replies, one gets the feeling that the current School Nurse model is that of bare bones Public Health. If you are wondering what the problem is…it seems to be more of people’s outdated concept of what nurses actually can do in the modern world. They are no longer pill pushing, bedpan changing minions that give rabies shots to the general public. Institutions will forever remain perplexed and under resourced if they continue to jam that round peg in their preconceived square hole.
Smart physician’s rely much on nurse’s. They are teachers, advocates and leader’s. But at this rate they can only tread water if no one asks or looks at what a nurse can actually do.

They can teach – infection control, sex education, childhood diabetes, CPR

They can screen for chronic illness, new onset illness, abuse, neglect, psychiatric issues

They can work with the school, family and community – sit in for counselling, review and work with dietary services, work with physical education, keep in touch children with medical or emotional issues, advocate, connect all with affordable medical or psych services, monitor for substance abuse and refer or facilitate Alateen or Ala non.

I think you’d get more bang for your buck if a school nurse had a psych background and the education system used a campus wide case management model. Something that the county needs to wake up about. They tend to place LCSWs in the their payroll as case managers exclusively. Their loss. A nurse can do case management outside of the hospital setting just as well. Nurses tend to take on things like a dog with a bone until resolved, maybe that’s why. Perhaps they prefer to have unnecessary disorder.

You need one nurse per school and get them involved as leaders and advocates.


Marissa January 13, 2014 at 2:42 PM

The sports basement in Walnut Creek has free CPR classes.

Mimi (original) January 13, 2014 at 2:58 PM

The Mamba really does hit the nail on the head. Even back when my offspring were in elementary school (15+ years ago) the school did not have a full-time nurse. This left office clerical staff to tend to children who were ill, had lice, etc. It was a nightmare!! Yes, all staff should be trained in CPR, at the very least, BUT I think it’s absolutely necessary to have a nurse on staff every single day of the week!

BugInTheBeards January 13, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Most staff at the High Schools and Jr. High schools are trained in basic CPR. They know enough to call a professional when necessary. The staff are not allowed to contact any kids at home unless it is school related and prior to filling out the many forms. A school nurse is pretty much restricted to the school.

Marissa January 13, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Most school districts have forgone “nurses” because of the lawsuits regarding treatment. But I do believe all staff should be trained in CPR.

anon January 13, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Why not teach students life skills like CPR?

Concordanon January 13, 2014 at 3:42 PM

I remember when I was in high school, I was taken to the office because I was having an asthma attack, and when I got to the office I had to wait until an ambulance came because there was no nurse and the ladies in the office didn’t know what to do. I was so pissed off that there were tons of kids staring at me because when an ambulance comes to a school it’s a big deal, when in reality they just brought me an inhaler. Schools should have nurses! Even better idea? Hire a nurse and train them to do other stuff in the office, or hire someone with two degrees so that they can be a nurse when you need them and an office assistant when you don’t.

Anon January 13, 2014 at 3:53 PM

@Spencer: Free and reduced lunches are a federal program, and are being pillaged by many. The district can only randomly sample 3% of all applications to check if the student truly qualifies. I am aware of a Concord business owner, driving cars worth 60K each who signs his two kids up, just because no one ever checks.

@MDUSD Parent: Charter schools are still public schools, therefore, teachers are required to be credentialed. Private school teachers do NOT NEED to be credentialed, or have any formal teacher training, so be sure to ask specifically if you are looking into private schools.

Frustrated January 13, 2014 at 4:37 PM

I agree with #15. I wonder how many parents are trained in CPR.

@14 January 13, 2014 at 4:51 PM

It is not true teachers at charter and private schools
do not have credentials. They are not required to,
but most of the teachers do anyway.
As far as CPR , all school stuff and parents should learn.
It is not that hard.
Also, probably kids in middle and high schools should,too.

VikingPrincess January 13, 2014 at 5:24 PM

@Marisa – you seem to have some knowledge on this some are not privy to…as in your statement about treatment and lawsuits as if they ate facts. Please share, as if this is true someone is either not getting good legal advise or not taking it.
There is only so much a nurse can do…treatment does have defined parameters.

Standardized first aid can be consented at the time of enrollment. A nurse can correlate with the prescribing physician specifically…an inhaler is a good example.

CPR provided by a person who has just taken a class can be more invasive than putting ice on a strain.

Current healthcare models focus on education and prevention, something a nurse could teach…treatment is not part of this. Also there is a stronger Public Health presence these days with required reporting to the CDC…Federal.

So basically if you set up an airtight model of “hands off” you can avoid a lawsuit? LOL. Brilliant. Well, then you’d better NOT train anyone for CPR. Heaven forbid if the self full filling prophecy is met when an adult over inflates a child’s lungs …since it is the first time they ever conducted CPR on a human…Good luck..let me know how that works out.

Atticus Thraxx January 13, 2014 at 5:46 PM

ALL teachers and staff should have current CPR/1st aid training. Surprised they do not.

BugsInTheBeards January 13, 2014 at 6:08 PM

I have to agree with most on here, all staff should have basic CPR training.

@14 Why would you send your child to a private school with un-credentialed teachers, especially when you have to pay for it.

Antonio January 13, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Nurses should be there daily, and all staff should know CPR.

@ Bugs In The Beards—28

My wife is a teacher in public school, and a lot of teachers who can’t pass the exams get jobs in a private school. You would think private school would have more stringent requirements. But they’re not dealing with the state.

If we sent our kids to private school, and was aware that the teachers were had less credentials, I would be ticked.

@Antonio January 13, 2014 at 7:08 PM

If you don’t pass the exam–or you don’t have credentials, you could become a “substitute” teacher. Even then for only a limited amount of time (in California). But even private schools have done away with nurses because of prior law suits.

VikingPrincess January 13, 2014 at 7:41 PM

There’s a solution – parents required to have CPR training. Make sure kids K-12 have cells with speaker phone and parents number on speed dial.

They choke, stop breathing or lose consciousness, call parents and they can instruct them on the CABs …circulation, airway and breathing (ABCs are out BTW, now people call a CAB). Problem solved. No one gets sued.

TimeServed January 13, 2014 at 8:24 PM

Have the staff take a basic CPR/First Aid course, that way you can save money on nurses and anyone would be available if something were to happen.

Marcus January 13, 2014 at 8:54 PM

@ Viking Princess—31

WTF? If you need someone to preform CPR on you, what good would calling your parents do?

First of all, most parents are at work all day. So the chances of getting a hold of them IMMEDIATELY are slim.

Secondly, isn’t CPR physical? Can you perform CPR on yourself?

Don’t you think nurses on staff all day, or teachers/staff members at the school who are ACTUALLY THERE makes more sense?

Anonymous January 13, 2014 at 10:05 PM

C’mon, people! EVERYONE should learn CPR/basic first aid – why WOULDN’T you want to know how to potentially save someone’s LIFE?!

Reminds me of a great scene in Wolf of Wall Street: DiCaprio’s character attempts to save someone from choking by performing CPR – he SHOULD have done the Heimlich maneuver (and would have avoided a face full of pre-chewed lunch meat)! Hahaha

VikingPrincess January 13, 2014 at 10:08 PM

Yes it is stupid. About as stupid as the unsubstantiated comments about lawsuits masquerading as fact.
I’m waiting for some real examples, not one or two…but actual proof of clusters – otherwise its just heresay

Eddie spaghetti January 13, 2014 at 10:17 PM

I went to Silverwood, Pine Hollow and Clayton Valley and never once saw a nurse available in 9 years.

Denise January 13, 2014 at 10:30 PM

I went to Mountain View, El Dorado and Concord High and there were nurses at all three schools.

But I’m probably older than Eddie Spaghetti.

FecalCephalic January 13, 2014 at 11:11 PM

Maybe we can save evrn more money and install an iPhone app to teach us.

My cousin installed a millionaire app a d he’s making millions now. Don’t see why we couldnt do the the same for whirled peas or saving a life. Just install and play…you’d save so much!
Maybe they got a teachers app too ….we could save on that

Peanut Gallery January 13, 2014 at 11:46 PM

STOP Welfare,
STOP Section 8,
STOP Free meals,
STOP Food stamps.
HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE. WE WASTE so much money on the leaches of our society and our kids, schools and Teachers suffer. Our priorities are so mixed up!!! Our State/ Country is being brought down by the freeloaders. It’s only going to get worse. Wake up Politicians!

Cost does count January 14, 2014 at 8:00 AM

The median income of a nurse is in SF bay area is $98,000. How many nurses would be needed to staff every school? I am a retired teacher. At the height of my career, my income was never even close to $98,000. BTW at the school I worked at, every staff member was CPR certified. During the course of my career, there was only one time an ambulance was called and it was for a child who knocked himself out on the playground. Most of the time children need a bandage or a temp taken. Do we need someone paid $98,000 a year to kiss boo boos?

It's kinda funny January 14, 2014 at 8:52 AM

That so many people will whine that we need a nurse at every school because something like this happens every 20 years or so. But they complain that it be cost-prohibitive to have an armed security guard at every school, even though a guard would cost WAY less than a nurse.

What this nurse did was wonderful, no doubt. But it’s something that anybody can be trained to do in about an hour. Why not teach it to every student and staff member?

Mac January 14, 2014 at 10:08 AM

I know all Coaches have to take CPR classes to be able to Coach.

But i`ve worked at a school for the last 12 years.
And i`ve never had a nurse at a school site.
Only time i`ve seen a nurse at a school site, was when they were testing the kids ears.

Schools have had so many budget cuts.
That nurse has gotten pushed way down the list, of things needed.

Yes, all you old timers, that haven`t been around a school in many moons.
Things have changed on school sites the last few years.

How many of you have CPR available to your kid at home ?
But you expect it at school. (hmmm)

Mimi (original) January 14, 2014 at 11:08 AM

@Mac – “testing the kid’s ears”?? Really?? I believe you meant “testing the kid’s hearing”. I’m sure their ears are perfectly fine.

VikingPrincess January 14, 2014 at 11:39 AM

@cost does count..another person throwing general information out. Again, its like clumping MDs, or Engineers into one category. There are so many types of each. But doesn’t quality count? I mean isnt this about our future?
I think I’d be more comfortable with the average pay of a school nurse in California if a budget is looked at.
How much does CPR (approved by the American Heart Association) class
cost..the kind that includes children that is? Not all CPR classes are effective. Again, a certified CPR instruction nurse could teach classes to staff – how much does that save. Or would you prefer to hire a paramedic?
Stand by for a once in a lifetime emergency.

Its too bad that this is a post about nurses. I tend to lean towards the poster that stated the California school system is going to the worms. Trying to cut corners and save a buck for the top heavy? I could really get on my soapbox. The quality of education has gone down because of this type of thinking. Looks like the unions did for teacher’s the same for nurse’s. Oh and pharmacists have Unions too.
Perhaps a Co-op type model in education should be used to rid of the tenure issues the public has. No matter..

@cost does count – at the height of your career you made 98k. How long ago? Were you full time? Let’s look at that. According to EDD that is 32 hours these days.

The school calendar year is how many months in a year? How many breaks and holidays? At 98k annually, not bad for 9 months a year or less.

Suzanne January 14, 2014 at 11:54 AM

A registered nurse studies medicine for four years at an accredited college. Then takes on patients in a medical facility for the next two. After the education and experience they obtain, they can make more than that. It usually is not beneficial to the school to pay the worth of a nurse–especially since the suits. But they do make a whole lot more in a medical facility.

Mac January 14, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Mimi <—- wont even go there. (shaking head)

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