HOWELL – At a recent Board of Education meeting, Lynne Donahue, School Nurse at Howell’s Newbury School, presented the Howell Township Schools District Nursing Services Plan for the 2017 year. The plan outlined the organization of student health services and clarified the role of the Certified School Nurse, to encourage the more effective delivery of health services to the students.
Every year, the BOE must adopt and submit the Nursing Services Plan to the County Superintendent for review and approval, according to the report. This allows for the district to stay on top of the plan and make adjustments to anything that may need improvement or alteration.
Currently, the district’s nursing staff consists of a Vice Principal or Supervisor, one Head Nurse, one Certified School Nurse in each school, and four part-time Registered Nurses. This staff is responsible for accommodating students, enabling them to live and go to school in a safe and healthy environment.
The staff is responsible for helping the students make healthy food choices, teaching the staff about relevant food allergies, working with students, parents and doctors to create health plans for the classrooms and buses, training EpiPen delegates, and administering medicine, as detailed in the report. Additional responsibilities include catheterization, daily hearing aid checks, and administering mandatory health screenings to name a few. The district’s school nurses have many duties. Their work does not stop at giving students medicine; they ensure that everyone gets a good education of healthy choices and available health services while creating various health plans for all students. The report noted that in this past year, 445 Student Emergency Plans were developed, as well as 422 Individual Health Care plans and 277 Bus Emergency Plans.
The nursing report presentation also provided detailed statistics on the number of students that utilized the various health services. For example, Donahue said there were an estimated 106,785 visits to the Health Office this year, with most of the daily activity seen at Middle School North and Middle School South. The report showed that 11,853 medications were administered, 1,302 sports physicals were processed, 1,586 medical updates were processed, 465 student accident reports were completed, 104 workmen’s compensation forms were completed, and EMS was called 17 times. These numbers show just the range of work that the district nurses are responsible for and the magnitude of what they deal with on a daily basis.
Donahue also noted that the nurses are trained to take appropriate care of students with special diagnoses, such as diabetes or asthma. There are 540 students with asthma and each one is required to have an Asthma Treatment Plan. There are also 15 students with diabetes district-wide, and all school personnel are required to be educated on this and nurses are required to develop health care and emergency plans for these students.
In an effort to educate the students in addition to taking care of them, the nurses also provided 495 student specific trainings on how to administer an EpiPen. This kind of training could be extremely helpfully for some those 401 students with allergies in the district if anything were to go wrong.
Donahue noted that the nurses are developing their Professional Growth Plan to be in line with district goals and are conducting peer observations. Always working hard and reaching for excellence, she said the Howell School District’s nurses are hugely involved and do a lot to make life safe, healthy and happy for Howell’s students.