McKinleyville Union School District Selected for ‘Nurses in the School’ Pilot Project

This is a press release from the Humboldt County Office of Education:

McKinleyville Union School District (MUSD) was selected to participate in the Nurses in the School Pilot Project. The pilot is a unique partnership between the Humboldt Independent Practice Association (IPA), the North Coast Health Improvement and Information Network (NCHIIN), Northern Humboldt Union High School District, and MUSD.

According to the January 2017 article “California’s Glaring Shortage of School Nurses” in California Healthline form the California Health Care Foundation, there is approximately one school nurse per 3,500 students in Humboldt County. A one-day-a-week nurse, whose main time is dealing with compliance duties, serves the 366 students at McKinleyville Middle School (MMS), the site of the proposed pilot.

The purpose of this pilot is to establish a small-scale health center at MMS to help fill in the gaps in services that families are currently experiencing with the county shortage of primary care providers. The current plan is to provide services from a nurse practitioner or registered nurse for twenty hours per week (five hours per day/ four days per week).

In 2018-19, the program will focus on delivering basic health screening, care navigation, health education, prevention activities, and health maintenance services. In following years, the scope of services will grow to include social service support and behavioral health resources.

School nurses are in short supply and most schools cannot afford even a half-time position. This pilot will provide nursing services at no cost to the schools. Students spend over half of each weekday at school, which provides a great opportunity for school-based health care. Unlike schools, the IPA can directly bill for services, which creates a sustainability model for future growth.

“We are thrilled to have an opportunity to provide direct health service to our students,” states Superintendent of McKinleyville Union School District, Jan Schmidt. “We’ve seen the challenges our families have had trying to find healthcare providers. This pilot alleviates those barriers for families and offers students responsive and timely care exactly where they are, when they need it. If successful, we anticipate expanding services to other McKinleyville schools next year.”

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4 comments

  • So Interesting this is being labeled as a “pilot project” since there used to be a School Nurse in most schools up until 12 + years ago when funding for school nurses went down the drain like a lot of our public services.
    A more apt label would say “Re-indroducing” nursing services in a public school.
    We already know it was/is a successful way to get health services and patient advocacy to families and get them to necessary medical care beyond the nurses scope of care.

    • Hear hear. I grew up with excellent school nurses (Joan Tempas and Anita Fullbright) in Humboldt county schools and I know how important they are not just for public health reasons, but for individual kids and families. More than twenty years later I still remember their names and how smart and kind they were.

  • Interesting that this article, like so many others about school nursing, indicate that schools cannot afford to employ nurses. In my district, school nurses are paid on the teacher’s salary schedule. How can a school district afford to hire a teacher when needed, but cannot afford a nurse?

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