CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Virginia doesn’t currently require public school to use a certified registered nurse (RN), but a University of Virginia nursing professor is working to change that.
Making its way through the Senate is a bill that would require Virginia public elementary, middle, and high schools to have a registered nurse working in the building. The legislation was proposed by the Senate Committee on Education Health, and is now waiting to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee.
Assistant nursing professor at UVA, Vickie Southall, has been working with the president of the Virginia Association of School Nurses to raise awareness about how RNs can potentially save money for schools in the long run, as well as ensure the health of students.
“Registered nurses get education and epidemiology infection control. They get education in trauma-informed care in mental health nursing for students. They get more education in pediatrics. They get education in how to take care of chronic diseases,” Southall said. “Approximately, 25% of our students have chronic diseases, so we want to make sure that they can take care of them.”
Southall says that she’s not as concerned with licensed practical nurses working in schools, because they do receive specific training. However, her hope is to have a required registered nurse mandate in Virginia public schools sooner rather than later.