Nurses Becoming a Rarity in California Public Schools

Each school day, about a fifth of the children in California schools attend class without a nurse in the building. If they get sick during the day, the schools call parents, or in an emergency, 911. But if emergency medication needs to be administered — an epinephrine shot for allergies, for example, or other kinds of medication injections — there may or may not be someone qualified or trained to provide the treatment.

Researchers conducting a large-scale study from the California State University-Sacramento School of Nursing have released preliminary findings showing that 57 percent of California public school districts have no school nurses whatsoever. Those districts serve about 20 percent of the students in California public schools, or about 1.2 million children. In districts that do have nurses, many of them are not working full time, or move between multiple schools and cover thousands of students. The average number of schools per nurse, according to the study, is six.

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