Council of PTAs pushing to create school nurse coordinator position

November 05, 1995|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,SUN STAFF

The Harford County Council of PTAs has thrown its weight behind the creation of a nursing coordinator to oversee the health needs of the county's public schools.

"At this point, it is our number one priority," said Kathy Carmello, vice president of the Harford County Council of PTAs.

She said school PTAs are writing letters and signing petitions to persuade the school board to include the position in the proposed 1996 operating budget they must submit by April 1 to County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann.

A nursing coordinator has been in the school system's proposed budget for at least 20 years. But every year the school system, citing budget restrictions, has chosen to eliminate the position, Mrs. Carmello said. The job would pay from $35,000 to $60,000 annually, according to Donald R. Morrison, school spokesman.

A nursing coordinator would be responsible for keeping nurses up to date on health issues, including monitoring students with diseases such as diabetes, the administration of prescription drugs and the care of students with disabilities. Proponents say the position is vital to protect the health of the school system's nearly 37,000 students.

"Nursing is much more diversified than it used to be. It's not just putting on Band-Aids and treating cut fingers anymore," said Mrs. Carmello, who is also a registered nurse.

"Nurses are routinely changing colostomy bags, treating children with cerebral palsy and providing oxygen or suctioning to children who need it," she said.

The school system's 52 nurses are also responsible for administering a variety of drugs to students, including anti-depressants and anti-psychotics, said Cindy Veidt, a nurse at Homestead Wakefield Elementary School in Bel Air.

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