Utah State Sen. Karen Mayne (D–West Valley) called on her colleagues in the Utah State Legislature to increase funding for school nurses. Citing a newly released Utah Department of Health (UDOH) report stating that Utah faces a “critical shortage” of school nurses, Sen. Mayne renewed her call for adequate funding.
According to the UDOH report, Utah has one of the lowest ratio of school nurses in the country, just one nurse for every 4,318 students. “The first rung on the ladder of good education is a healthy and vibrant child,” said Sen. Mayne, herself a retired educator. “We have an obligation to our children to ensure that their mental and physical health needs are attended to.”
In a letter to fellow legislators, Senator Mayne underscored the particular need for increased numbers of nurses in rural areas and public charter schools due to the size of the schools and the distance between them.
For many students, school nurses are their first arena for receiving quality healthcare.
Due to lack of funding, many of Utah’s school nurses must serve multiple schools. According to UDOH, for each school in Utah to have a nurse, the stated would need an additional 959 school nurses at an estimated cost of $91 million. The legislature has currently set aside only $1 million for school nursing.