DCNA nurses fight for full funding of school nurses

DCNA LogoDiabetes. Severe allergies and risk of anaphylactic shock. Rare diseases. Gone are the days when school nurses handed out Tylenol and Band-Aids. Today’s school nurses monitor and care for kids with a wide range of serious medical conditions. And you can’t learn when you are ill.

That’s why District of Columbia Nurses Association nurses have advocated so passionately for every school in the district to have nursing services for at least 40 hours per week, a requirement DC Mayor Muriel Bowser signed into law in 2017. The district is home to 110 public school campuses and an expected 110 public charter school campuses for the 2018-2019 school year. But staffing is dependent on funding, which is subject to the budget and appropriations process each year. On April 9, DCNA nurses testified at a Department of Health budget hearing to allocate at least $30 million to the school nursing program in order to meet the 40 hours per week commitment. The Department of Health will need funding to support an additional 75 full-time RNs and 26 full-time LPNs for the coming school year.