Report outlines severe school nurse shortage in Oregon - KPTV - FOX 12

Report outlines severe school nurse shortage in Oregon

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A newly-released report titled, "Unhealthy Schools:  The Alarming Decline of School Nurses in Oregon” reinforces many of the findings uncovered by FOX 12 last month.

The report was put together by the Oregon School Nurse Association, the Oregon School Employees Association, the Oregon Nurses Association and Upstream Public Health.

According to the report, thousands of Oregon’s most vulnerable children are at risk because of a severe shortage of nurses on school campuses.

It found that Oregon has one certified or licensed registered nurse for every 2,178 students as opposed to the recommended nurse-to-student ratio of one nurse for every 750 students.

Local school nurses say the shortage comes at a bad time.

"What we've seen is the change in kids’ health over the last 20 years,” President-elect of the National Association of School Nurses Nina Fekaris said. “I've been a school nurse almost 30 years, and when I started here in Beaverton, we didn't have any children in the district that had Type 1 Diabetes. And now we have over 150."

Fekaris added that about 40 percent of school districts across the state don't have any nurses at all, saying the shortage has a direct impact on attendance, student grades and graduation rates.

The report also outlines how much it would cost to fix the problem, noting the state would need to spend between $58 million and $72 million to meet the recommended ratio.

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