Rep. Titus Pushes for NURSE Act in Reconciliation Package
Washington, D.C., September 1, 2021 | Blake Williams
Representative Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District urged Congressional leadership to include the Nurses for Under-Resourced Schools Everywhere (NURSE) Act in the budget reconciliation package, legislation introduced by Rep. Titus which would help K-12 schools hire more full-time nurses.
Washington, DC – Today, Representative Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District urged Congressional leadership to include the Nurses for Under-Resourced Schools Everywhere (NURSE) Act in the budget reconciliation package, legislation introduced by Rep. Titus which would help K-12 schools hire more full-time nurses.
The NURSE Act would create a grant program at the Department of Education to reduce the cost of hiring nurses in public elementary and secondary schools. Under the legislation, eligible entities, such as the Clark County School District, could apply for the grants if at least 20% of students within their jurisdictions are eligible for low-cost or free school lunches.
Even prior to the pandemic, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended one full-time registered nurse in every school. Yet, the Clark County School District has 196 full-time nurses serving over 350 schools.
“As schools across the country continue their first in-school learning since the pandemic began, school nurses will play a key part in stopping the spread of COVID-19,” said Congresswoman Titus (NV-1). “School nurses have always played a vital role in providing students access to quality health care. Now more than ever, our schools must be a place where students are safe, healthy, and ready to learn. Yet, schools in Southern Nevada and across the country are struggling to hire nurses to meet their students’ needs. The NURSE Act will help put a full-time registered nurse in every school.”
“Funding for school nurses is an equity issue,” said Dr. Linda Mendonca, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC, NCSN, FNASN, President of the National Association of School Nurses. “School nurses serve as a critical health hub for students; managing complex chronic conditions; identifying and addressing mental health issues; leveling the field on health disparities and promoting health behaviors; connecting families to healthcare providers and community resources; and now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, testing, tracking and vaccinating students and school personnel. Passing the NURSE Act is essential for supporting our nation’s children.”
Congresswoman Titus’s full letter to the Committee on Education and Labor is below:
Chairman Bobby Scott
Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
September 01, 2021
Dear Chairman Scott:
I urge you to include my bill, H.R. 3166, the Nurses for Under-Resourced Schools Everywhere (NURSE) Act, in the upcoming reconciliation package. The NURSE Act exemplifies the investment that Democrats need to make to fulfill President Biden’s vision to build back letter.
School nurses are important health care providers that not only afford children regular check-ups and immediate first aid, but also provide age-appropriate public health education, medication management, and assistance for children with medically complex conditions. The NURSE Act would provide federal funding through Department of Education grants to hire school nurses, the first investment of its kind. The NURSE Act targets Title I schools as eligible entities because these schools are where child health and social needs are the greatest. This legislation would serve as an important starting point for increasing school nurse coverage across the country.
As you know, healthy students learn better. When a school nurse is present to meet student healthcare needs, parents and school administrators know that children and youth can focus on learning. According to the National Association of School Nurses, currently only 39 percent of public schools have a school nurse on campus all day, every day, while another 35 percent of schools have a school nurse who works part-time in one or more schools. Nationwide, this leaves 25 percent of schools without a fulltime school nurse.
As we enter the second school year of the COVID-19 pandemic, school nurses are frontline health care professions serving as the bridge connecting clinical care, public heath, and education systems. They are public health sentinels who engage school communities, parents, and healthcare providers to promote wellness and improve health outcomes for children. And they are essential in infectious disease surveillance contact tracing, identification and intervention for student physical and mental health concerns, health screenings, school-based vaccinations, and immunization compliance efforts.
Providing much needed, and dedicated, federal support to make sure students can access the care school nurses provide is incredibly important. Students require care that helps them remain healthy, safe, and ready to learn during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Fundamentally, the NURSE Act is about equity and leveling the field with regards to health disparities and academic readiness, which is why I urge you to include it in the upcoming reconciliation package.
Thank you for consideration of the NURSE Act and ensuring that children’s health is a priority. Should you have additional questions regarding my legislation, please contact Madison West, at 202-225-5965.
Member of Congress
Speaker of the House of Representatives
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 205157