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Elementary school district looking for full-time school nurse

 

Last updated 11/17/2006 at Noon



Administrators of the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District say the health needs of Fallbrook children enrolled in its elementary school district will not go un-served while efforts to replace their full-time nurse go forward.

“We are anxious to get the position filled, but no children are missing out while we’re filling the position,” says Jim Whitlock, assistant superintendent, office of employer-employee relations for the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District.

Whitlock says it’s hard to predict how long it will take to find a qualified replacement because, according to the California Education Code, “to function as a school nurse or other duly qualified supervisor of health in California public schools, persons must be appropriately credentialed and licensed (EC sections 44871, 44973, 44877 and 49422<a>).” A California credentialed school nurse is also a currently licensed registered nurse. With the state’s nursing shortage in general and the field further narrowed by explicit requirements for administering to the health needs of students, Whitlock says the district will be lucky to get three to five qualified candidates.

The district has placed advertisements for the position, and Whitlock says, “If we don’t get enough applicants, we re-advertise and expand our geographic area in which we place the ads.” If a qualified candidate is chosen from the current applicants after the interview process, the individual could be on staff within a couple of weeks. If not, Whitlock says, it might be winter break before someone is hired.

In the interim, however, two part-time nurses are filling in. The district also has a classified employee who is a Licensed Vocational Nurse. In addition, each school site has a classified employee technician on staff who keeps health records, administers medication and provides basic first aid.

Although the day-to-day health needs of district students will be met, Whitlock says the district wants to get the position filled as quickly as possible because of the important role the school nurse plays. For example, California certificated school nurses are trained to recognize child abuse and neglect, help students and their families manage asthma and administer programs that detect hearing and vision problems as well as diabetes and other debilitating childhood illnesses.

 

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