School Nurses Feel Overworked

New Media Producer: Brad Maglinger

Dispensing medication to dozens of students is only one of school nurse Leitha Wilson's daily duties. She'll check out the occasional rash or re-dress some poor student who ripped his pants on the playground. All of this used to fill up an eight-hour workday, now she has to do it in half the time.

"The thing is that you have the same amount of paperwork," Wilson says. "The same amount of work, but you only have four hours to do it in."

After voters rejected a referendum last May that would have increased property taxes to fund such services, EVSC cut back nearly all of its nurses to part-time. So, Mrs. Wilson now leaves at noon every day, leaving the office secretaries to care for sick students. They're still getting medical attention, but not the quality care she says she used to be able to provide.

"Used to be when they would come in you could sit down with them, you would clean their sores, 'How's it going? What's going on at home?' But there's not time to do a holistic approach," says Wilson. "You get them in, you take care of them and you get them off to class because you have all this work that you still have to do."

Mrs. Wilson doesn't mind leaving behind some of the paperwork when she calls it a day, but she says she does mind leaving behind children who may need her.

EVSC assistant superintendent Bob Yeager says he would love to bring back the school nurses full-time, but can't under the current funding formula. He hopes state legislators will provide more funding and change the current law that only requires one nurse per school corporation.