Lack of school nurses hinders swine flu prevention

Schools may need more nurses to combat H1N1
Schools may need more nurses to combat H1N1

School nurses are the first line of defense against the spread of swine flu, but a shortage of public workers are leaving schools across the country exposed to the spread of the virus.

The Associated Press reports that a 2008 survey conducted by the National Association of School Nurses found 45 percent of all school districts employ a full-time school nurse, 30 percent have one on a part-time basis, and 25 have none in any capacity.

This could present a problem in the upcoming flu season. A nurse named Mary Pappas who works at a private school in New York City proved the need for her services by helping to stem the rate of infection among students in her school earlier this year. By identifying those that had flu-like symptoms before the virus began to spread, she was able to isolate them and keep more cases from developing.

Nurses are not only in demand at schools, but also in hospitals, where understaffing is compromising their ability to deal with a high influx of patients.

Those who wish to help solve the problem – and earn potentially excellent wages doing so – may enroll in a certified nursing degree program, where badly needed skills are taught for later use in helping to solve the nation’s healthcare issues.

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