This “Letter to the Editor” got my attention! It was written by a concerned husband about the “shambles” he describes regarding the school nursing caseload in his wife’s Montgomery County, Maryland school district. I imagine there was intense conversation in this household about the content of the letter and why it was so important to submit. How many of us have equally concerned loved ones who see us working beyond capacity to try to meet the unending needs of our school populations, both students and staff? Kudos to this husband, who out of great concern for his wife and her co-workers took a public stance. The questions he raised for parents to ask are relevant and deserve to be addressed. Safe and appropriate staffing is the answer.
The following Letter to the Editor was retrieved from Opinion: Prescription for MCPS staffing woes? Hire more nurses. By Paul Austin
The school nurse situation in Montgomery County remains in shambles. The school nurses and their union representative, Local 1994, have tried for years to improve staffing. But nurses remain responsible for the students in not just two schools, but 25 nurses are responsible for students in three schools – some are responsible for up to almost 2,000 students.
My wife, Nancy Austin, is one of those nurses. She has worked tirelessly, testifying to the council and to a State Assembly committee about these staffing problems. And it is supremely ironic that Nancy is one of the 25 nurses responsible for the students in three schools.
This understaffing is not only dangerous, but the morale of the school nurses is worsening.
Parents need to ask the principal of their child’s school:
· Who is the school nurse?
· How often is the school nurse at my child’s school?
· How many schools does the nurse cover?
· How many students is the nurse responsible for?
· Who is responsible for my child when the nurse is out sick?
As a healthcare provider and taxpayer, what is the problem? Is the bureaucracy of our county so daunting that the council cannot make improvements? Will the council step in and take action?
The health of our children is at stake.
Paul Austin is a Boyds resident in Montgomery County.