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Chambersburg looks to bolster school nursing numbers

July 19, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg School Board agreed Wednesday to bolster the district's nursing staff so every school will have a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse this fall.

Ted Raybold, assistant superintendent for pupil services, asked the board to consider hiring 10 LPNs at a cost of $110,000.

He said the move is necessary because there are more and more students with health issues including diabetes, asthma and allergies that require daily injections and medication. Raybold said it was not practical to have only nine RNs and a handful of LPNs and health room aides splitting time in the 21 schools in the district.

"The (Pennsylvania) Department of Education is starting to frown on schools using a secretary to supervise kids taking their medications," Raybold said.

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Board President Eugene Gayman asked Raybold if he realistically thought the positions could be filled, given the national nursing shortage.

"Being the eternal optimist, I think we can. They would work the same hours the children are in school," Raybold said.

Superintendent Edwin Sponseller agreed superior working conditions would attract some nurses.

"We find LPNs like to work in schools," he said.

Raybold said if the positions are not all filled by the start of school, he would split the LPNs between schools that have only one class per grade level.

To meet the growing demand, the district had to hire substitute school nurses during the last school year. Raybold said hiring LPNs to work 51/2 hours a day would be more cost-effective.

The cost will be partially funded by federal funds the district receives as reimbursement for money it spends on medical care for students, and from the salary of a registered nurse who retired this year.

The hiring would bring the school nurse staff up to 14 LPNs and 8 RNs.

One RN each would be placed at the high school, junior high school and middle school, with four other RNs in elementary schools. The eighth RN would continue as department head. LPNs would work in the remaining elementary schools.

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