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Dear Congressman or Senator,
I am writing to urge you to Co-Sponsor the Nurses for Under-Resourced Schools Everywhere (NURSE Act), HR 3166/S 1602 (please choose the House or Senate bill number depending on who you are emailing). As a school nurse, I know firsthand how important it is for children to have a registered nurse at school to take care of their health care needs.
The NURSE Act would give grants to increase the number of school nurses in Title I schools where a school nurse does not yet exist.
National data indicates that 39 percent of public schools have a school nurse all day, every day, while another 35 percent of schools have a school nurse who works part-time in one or more schools. This leaves another 25 percent of schools that do not have a school nurse at all. Wide ratio disparities exist from state to state, within states and school districts, and between urban and rural.
Children today face increased social and emotional issues; according to the CDC, 20 percent of children and adolescents experience some sort of mental disorder. School nurses spend one-third of their time providing mental health services and are critical members of the mental health team.
For many of our nation’s children, the school nurse is the sole provider of access to health care. This makes the role of school nurses even more critical. School nurses operate in what some have termed the “Hidden Health Care System.” School nurses coordinate with families, schools, and providers to connect children to medical homes, which can help improve health outcomes and reduce costs.
The American Nurses Association has reported that when there is no registered nurse on the school premises, the responsibility to administer the necessary medications and treatments, and to appropriately monitor children’s health issues, falls on the shoulders of administrators, educators, and staff, who are ill‐prepared to perform these tasks.
Please ensure that our children are safe, healthy and ready to learn by Co-Sponsoring the NURSE Act.
See also: Virtual Hill Days: Tweet Your Member of Congress & Virtual Hill Days: Call Congress