Massachusetts PTA every child. one voice P.O. Box 710, Fiskdale, MA 01518-0710
November 17, 2001 Dear Acting Governor Swift,
As you work on completing the new budget, the 21,000 members of the Massachusetts PTA hope you will recognize the importance of fully funding school nursing and comprehensive school health services.
Never has the need for full time professional school nurses been greater. People who are not involved in the day-to-day operation of a school may not see the increasing numbers and variety of health needs of today's students nor understand the need for a school nurse who functions not only as a care provider to an average of 40 to 50 students a day, but as the liaison between the school, home, community, and primary health care provider.
Without a nurse, large numbers of school children are at daily risk because the school cannot provide the timely assessment of acute injuries and illnesses or the proper management of routine chronic health conditions. Students with disabilities, severe allergies and other chronic conditions are subjected to hazardous and even life-threatening situations when teachers and secretaries are improperly burdened with nursing tasks.
Whether students need antibiotics to cure ear or sinus infections, monitoring and medication to control conditions such as seizures, asthma or diabetes, or cast care or pain control, students need school nurses to get the continuity of care their conditions require. And, without school nurses, many opportunities for cost-effective prevention, early intervention and referral are missed, especially for school children at highest risk because of economic or social conditions.
School nurses protect our health and education dollars as students have better attendance and parents have fewer lost workdays. Schools enjoy better school-parent relationships and reduced school liability. I hope you agree that school nurses are one of the best ways to make sure we get the most value out of every dollar.