GREENSBORO, N.C. — School is back in session. The teachers and students are back in the classrooms, but you won't always find a nurse in the nurses office.
"It's not good for student's health and its also not safe for day to day running of the school," Todd Warren, President of Guilford County Association of Educators, said.
According to the Guilford County Department of Health, nurses are in each school about one day a week.
Susan Hawks, Lead Health Supervisor, said they'd love to see that change, but it's not easy. She said it's competitive and hard to recruit good nurses.
"There are a lot of opportunities for registered nurses and we are looking for experienced nurses, primarily with pediatric experience," Hawks said.
Most schools in our region meet the national criteria for school nurses which is one nurse for every 750 students.
- Guilford County currently has 42 nurses for 124 schools.
- Winston-Salem Forsyth County has 31 nurses and one part-time nurse for 80 schools.
- Alamance-Burlington has 27 nurses for 38 schools.
- Randolph County said they are seeing a shortage with only 11 nurses for 31 schools.
So who administers medicine and monitors students with chronic health issues when the nurse is out? Teachers and staff.
Hawks said they thoroughly train all teachers and staff to handle nursing duties. She also said the principals chose the people they want to help and make sure everyone is comfortable with the role they take on.
However, this is something the Guilford County Association of Educators continues to rally against and demand legislators fully fund.
"We're here to do reading, writing and arithmetic and we should leave that to medical professionals," Warren said.
Despite the absence of some nurses, Hawks said schools are trained to take care of all students.
"I can assure parents that our primary goal is to ensure that the safety of the children," Hawks said.