Report outlines severe school nurse shortage in Oregon

 

A new report just released Friday showed that the shortage of school nurses in Oregon is worse than previously thought.

The state legislature commissioned a special task force to investigate, and that group has shared its findings and recommendations.

The task force found the shortage is more severe than numbers released by the Oregon Nurses Association earlier this month.

According to this new report, there was just one school nurse for every 4,664 students in Oregon last year.

The shortfall has more than doubled since 2011 when there was one nurse for every 1,490 students.

It also shows that 79 of the 197 Oregon school districts did not provide any school nursing services.

Nurses say the findings illustrate a problem that's getting worse. Beaverton school nurse and president-elect for the National Association of School Nurses Nina Fekaris told FOX 12 that the needs of students have changed greatly over the last two decades.

"What we've seen is the change in kids’ health over the last 20 years,” 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."

The task force recommends immediate funding to address the shortfall, especially in underserved school districts.

They say the stakes are high, not just for students but also for the school districts.

The authors point out that it is against the law for anyone other than a registered nurse to delegate medical care for students with complex health problems while they are at school.

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