School nurses ask board for additional staff

Milaca Public Schools nurse Kim Lubrant presented a case for hiring an additional licensed nurse at the most recent school board meeting, Tuesday, June 18.

“Tonight, I’m here to advocate for our entire district,” Lubrant told the board.

As the director of health services for the past 6 1/2 years, Lubrant said she has observed the need for additional medical staff. This past year alone, students dropped into the nurses office 5,674 times at an average of 28 minutes per case, Lubrant said.

“That’s 387 days of missed class,” she said. “They come in for a huge variety of reasons — from a skinned knee to lacerations to ‘I’m not feeling well.’”

Of those 5,674 student visits, Lubrant said 290 of them were seen by her or nurse Teresa Burns five or more times.

“There are some students who we don’t see at all, and there are some who we know a little too well,” Lubrant said.

More than 65 percent of those repeat visitors qualify for free or reduced lunch prices, she said. These visits also did not include students who were at the nurses office for scheduled medication administration, which averages anywhere between 100 and 150 students per year who receive regularly scheduled medication at the nurses office.

“At open house when parents drop off these medications, it’s like a pharmacy explodes in our office.” she said.

Lubrant told the board the recommended ratio for school nurses is 750 students for each licensed nurse. Milaca has two licensed nurses who see 2,010 students, which is 255 more students per nurse than recommended.

“The issue I’m bringing to you isn’t new,” Lubrant told the board. “It’s a demanding job. There was a revolving door of school nurses in that office when I stepped in.”

During that time, Lubrant said the number of students with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and asthma, have doubled.

“We are giving more advanced care,” she said. “And that medical diagnosis isn’t going to go away like that chemistry class. We’re teaching them skills they’ll use the rest of their lives.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, June 27 print edition of the Times.