SALEM, OR -- Bend-La Pine and Redmond schools are bucking a statewide trend; an increasing number of Oregon districts are cutting their school nurses. Nina Fekaris, Chair of the Task Force on School Nurses, says the problems started in the 1980s when property tax measures reduced money for schools. "The crisis is kind of happening now, in that we have more and more students in school with chronic and acute medical and mental health conditions." She says 79 out of 179 districts don't have a school nurse, which affects about 30,000 students.
According to Fekaris, not having a nurse could cost districts, if a student suffers a medial emergency while at school. "It puts the school district at great liability if there’s nobody there able to train and delegate some of the nursing tasks."
The Bend-La Pine School District has 16 nurses with an opening for one more. In Redmond, each high school has its own medical staff, with other nurses caring for two schools each, on average. RSD has a total of 17 full and part-time RNs and CNAs on staff. Both districts tell KBND News they have increased the number of nurses on staff, year over year.