Need for nurse is ‘emergency’
The school district is responding to a medical emergency the need for a second nurse in the district's five schools.
At Monday night's school board meeting, principals, secretaries and teachers said the medical needs in the district exceed what one person can do.
Kathy Kivett is responsible for administering medications and evaluating injuries and sicknesses in five schools. She is often needed in more than one place at one time, said Supt. James White.
"Kathy Kivett is our only nurse in the district," White said. "We found out, by more or less the complaint method, that she doesn't have enough time to get around to the students."
Kivett is supposed to attend Vinland and Marion Springs elementary schools a half day a week. She doesn't always make it, because of needs elsewhere in the district.
"We can go three weeks without seeing her," said Bill Scott, Vinland Elementary School principal.
Scott said Barb Brecheisen, secretary at Vinland Elementary School, "is basically our nurse." So is Glenda Rockers, the secretary at Marion Springs Elementary School.
"I can hand out band-aids real well, but my nursing skills aren't real well," Rockers said. "We do need help."
Having faculty members work as part-time nurses is putting the district in a potentially liable situation, said Gus Wegner, Marion Springs principal. Those attending the board meeting agreed the district needs two Kathy Kivetts.
"That lady is remarkable for all the ways she is pulled," Scott said of Kivett. "She is way overworked. She has more than any one person should be expected to do."
Julie Vineyard, district health secretary, said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment recommends one nurse for every 700 students. The enrollment in Baldwin schools is about 1,300.
"There are too many responsibilities," Vineyard said. "All the time there are students coming into the district that need special care."
Connie Wright, principal at Baldwin Junior High School, agreed. She said there are days when 100 students at the school need some sort of medical attention. Or a parent will bring in an antibiotic a student needs to be on, but it can't be administered until Kivett approves the prescription (she has to document that the bottle matches the prescription, and also appoint someone to administer the medicine).
"At the junior high we have children who are seriously ill," Wright said. Kivett said there are a number of children with respiratory concerns, such as asthma. "We are dealing with them on a daily basis. I don't worry as much about the flu or taking a temperature. I worry about the students who are seriously ill. We really need some help."
School board members decided to discuss the need for an additional district nurse in executive session, because it was a personnel matter. White said he is seeking grants that could help fund the second position. Kivett has worked for the district for 10 years.
"The bottom line is we have to provide additional nursing services," White said.
Kivett said she needs the extra help.
"It is a necessity at this point," Kivett said. "The enrollment is increasing. And more children are coming to school with health concerns. It is getting to the point where it is hard to accommodate every student in every building at the same time."