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Titus, Tester Introduce Companion Bills to Help Schools Hire More Nurses

March 14, 2018
More than 40 percent of CCSD schools are without a full-time nurse.

March 14, 2018

In recognition of Public Schools Week, Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District introduced companion legislation with Montana Sen. Jon Tester to help schools across the nation hire more full-time nurses. The bill, H.R. 5251, the Nurses for Under-Resourced Schools Everywhere Act, or NURSE Act, will allow public elementary and secondary schools to apply for grants to reduce the cost of hiring a nurse.

Clark County School District (CCSD) has 200 school nurses serving more than 310,000 students in over 350 schools.  In the 2016-2017 school year, CCSD students made more than one million health office visits, and 900,000 students were returned to the classroom to resume their education after nurses administered basic first aid. Additionally, school nurses performed over 100,000 medical procedures on students.

With the bill, districts, boards, and state agencies can participate if more than 20 percent of students within their jurisdictions are eligible for low-cost or free lunch. In CCSD, 62 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Below are quotes from Rep. Titus, Sen. Tester, CCSD Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky, and Nevada State Education Association President Ruben Murillo.

“School nurses are on the front lines, promoting wellness, managing chronic diseases, administering medication, and addressing issues that affect students in and out of the classroom,” said Rep. Titus. “But data show that nurses in Nevada and the nation are spread thin. More than 40 percent of Clark County School District schools are without a full-time nurse and the same goes for districts across the nation. Besides caring for thousands of students at a single school, many nurses also have to travel from school to school in order to care for our kids. This bill will ensure that we have more medical professionals focusing on smaller numbers of students. We can all agree: Healthier students are better prepared to learn.”

“Investing in school nurses is an investment in student health that will pay huge dividends in the future,” said Sen. Tester, a former public school teacher and school board member. “Schools are one of the primary sources of health care for an increasing number of students. Without school nurses, many kids go without basic physical or mental health care. Learning becomes much harder for students in poor health. Keeping kids healthy will help them stay focused and achieve their full potential.”

“Despite the current nurse-to-student ratio, CCSD school nurses are able to maintain a far-reaching presence across the valley to ensure the health and wellness of Nevada’s children,” said CCSD Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky. “But it is time Congress recognizes the gap and offers more support to districts across the nation. The NURSE Act will help school districts like ours hire more full-time medical professionals and give students greater access to care when they need it.”

“Every student should have access to quality health, social, and physiological services at school,” said Ruben Murillo, President of the Nevada State Education Association. “Having an appropriate nurse-to-student ratio in our elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools is crucial to achieving that goal.”