A third of universities will not have a nurse. This is why that’s a dilemma.

Jodi Bobbitt, the university nurse at William Ramsay Elementary in Alexandria, Virginia, is constantly all set to see kids with a wide selection of accidents and diseases. One particular day throughout the 1st week of school, the parade commenced prior to the first bell when a very little lady walked in with crimson, irritated eyes.

Then it got occupied.

A pupil fell from the monkey bars and one more tripped whilst taking part in tag. Two young ones hit each and every other’s heads with lunchboxes and necessary ice packs. A youthful boy experienced a stomachache. Bobbitt also noticed her standard kiddos: 1 who has specific demands and works by using a wheelchair and yet another who has diabetes and will get his blood sugar checked day by day in advance of lunch.

Nurse Jodi Bobbitt helps a child at school
Nurse Jodi Bobbitt assists a youngster at William Ramsay Elementary in Alexandria, Virginia.

Colleen DeGuzman/KFF Health and fitness News

“Each individual day, I am seeing additional and much more [youngsters],” Bobbitt, who is a licensed nurse practitioner, said with a smile. “I observed much more right now than yesterday, so we just have to wait around and see what the calendar year has in keep.”

As the only university nurse at this suburban Washington, D.C., elementary college, Bobbitt’s responsibilities prolong over and above dealing with scraped knees and sniffles for the school’s 600 pupils. At her under-the-sea-themed clinic, she administers drugs, teaches youngsters about health and fitness treatment, and conducts routine health screenings. As the college nurse, she also serves as a general public health and fitness position individual — monitoring scholar vaccinations, linking dad and mom to nearby health treatment resources, and communicating occasionally tricky messages to them, this kind of as warnings about sexually transmitted ailments and signals of depression.

It is really a total plate, but Bobbitt considers herself lucky. In a past college nursing task, she break up her time amongst two buildings inside the identical university district — some years a few. What has not altered is that college nurses engage in a important job in trying to keep learners wholesome and all set to study, but it’s an often-unrecognized discipline for which universities battle to draw in and keep workers.

Jodi Bobbitt is the only school nurse at William Ramsay Elementary in Alexandria, Virginia. In a former college nursing work, she split her time concerning two school structures — some decades 3. Now she has only a single campus to care for. 

Eric Harkleroad/KFF Wellness News

Additional than a 3rd of faculties nationwide don’t have a comprehensive-time nurse on-website, according to a 2021 study by the Nationwide Association of School Nurses. The schools that don’t have a dedicated nurse both share one with other campuses, or do not have just one at all. In the meantime, the nation is going through substantial premiums of long-term illnesses among the K-12 pupils, these as diabetic issues and asthma, along with an unprecedented mental well being disaster among the youth, and

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