California falls significantly short of a new recommendation by an influential group of pediatricians calling for every school in the United States to have at least one nurse on site.
Fifty-seven percent of California’s public school districts, with 1.2 million students, do not employ nurses, according to research from Sacramento State University’s School of Nursing.
The call for a nurse in every school appeared this week in a policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The group’s new guideline replaces its previous one, which recommended that school districts have one nurse for every 750 healthy students, and one for every 225 students who need daily assistance.
The academy said the use of a numerical ratio was “inadequate to fill the increasingly complex health needs of students.”
Even when measured against that old yardstick, California’s schools are woefully deficient. Statewide, there is one nurse for every 2,784 students, according to 2014 numbers from KidsData, a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. That’s nearly four times more students per nurse than the academy had recommended.