The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) recently released new 2009 data highlighting the disparities of students-to-school nurses working in public schools nationwide. NASN President Sandi Delack and Executive Director Amy Garcia presented the data in the form of the NASN ratio ruler, which ranks how states "measure up" regarding their number of public school students per school nurse RNs. Having a school nurse RN full-time in every building is important as the healthcare needs of students have changed.
Since NASN first announced its ratio ruler in 2007, several states have sought to improve their ratio and increase the number of school nurses working full-time in schools. While some states have shown inspiring improvements, NASN is concerned for the erosion of ratios in some states, and within certain areas of some states. Michigan's ratio dropped significantly, replacing Utah's position at the bottom of the ratio ruler. Vermont's investment in the health of students has placed it at the top spot on the ratio ruler for the past three years.
On November 6, 2009, Senator Charles Schumer of New York introduced the Student-to-School Nurse Ratio Improvement Act of 2009. In recognition of his efforts to improve student health, Senator Schumer was honored by NASN President Delack with the Lillian Wald Legislator Award. "School nursing is an investment in our children's future," said NASN President Sandi Delack."School nurses are committed to keeping kids healthy, in school, and ready to learn."
School nurses are the front line of defense and provide a critical safety net for our nation's most fragile children. The H1N1 epidemic highlighted to the public one of the crucial roles of the school nurse-protecting children and the community from infectious diseases.
Only 13 states meet the government recommended student-to-school nurse ratio of 1:750 well students. NASN recommends a needs-based approach in determining appropriate ratios based on student health needs.