The local public school system will hire more school nurses

LIVINGSTON PARISH – School nurses are needed in Livingston Parish for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, education officials say.

On Thursday, the Livingston Parish School Board approved a superintendent’s proposal to hire 17 new licensed practical nurses.

The move will increase the total number of district nurses to ensure there is one for every elementary campus.

“The COVID pandemic has increased the demand for healthcare professionals on our campuses to meet the needs of our students,” Superintendent Joe Murphy said. “This is particularly the case for students who do not have enough private health care. In many cases, our school nurses are the frontline providers for these children.

Currently, Livingston Parish Public Schools has 28 full-time school nursing positions, including 17 registered nurses who serve multiple campuses.

In addition to serving students on multiple campuses, registered nurses supervise staff LPNs. The new hires will increase the district’s total number to 49 school nurses.

School nurse coordinator Jennifer Wilkinson said the district’s need for on-campus medical staff has increased significantly over the past year due to COVID-19 guidelines. She noted that school nurses have been required to conduct contact tracing of students and staff throughout the year, and that these health guidelines will remain in effect for the 2021-2022 school year.

Wilkinson also said the medical needs of students have increased significantly over the years as more students have identified special needs that require greater care from licensed professionals rather than staff or paraprofessionals. not accredited.

For example, she noted that students with diabetes may need nurses to calculate their insulin dose and administer their daily insulin intake.

School nurses routinely administer medication and care to students, arrange health services for students with disabilities, and perform multi-level vision and hearing screenings to identify health conditions that would prevent a child from learning. Their services reduce absenteeism and improve the overall health of individuals.

“We’ve easily seen a 20% increase in school nurse services in the last five years alone,” Wilkinson said. “The level of care required for many of our students must be administered by a licensed professional, and often even specialist training in certain types of care is required.”

Murphy noted that the district will be able to seek Medicaid reimbursements for many nursing services to the district’s underprivileged population. He said nurses will receive specialized training on these eligible expenses and reimbursements.

“Due to the needs of our district, we anticipate that 50 percent of these new hires’ salaries will be covered by Medicaid reimbursements,” Murphy said. “Obviously, we will meet a need that the federal government has recognized as a need that it will help fund.

Murphy said new hires will be placed on one-year contracts to allow the district to assess benefits and sustainability of positions. The annual cost to the district is about $800,000, but with ESSER grants and Medicaid prepayments, the initiative has the potential to be cost-neutral. Each newly hired LPN would receive a $47,000 package including salary and benefits.

Murphy noted that this initiative will be in place during the 2021-2022 school year and will allow the district greater flexibility and response to the COVID 19 pandemic, as well as provide more comprehensive health services to students in the district.

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Jeremy S. McLain