Not Enough Nurses in Dougherty Schools -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Not Enough Nurses in Dougherty Schools

September 5, 2007

Albany - - If your child gets sick at school, you may expect a nurse will be there to help. You might be wrong. All Dougherty County schools are supposed to have nurses provided by Phoebe Putney Hospital, but WALB News Ten learned that's not happening. One Albany parent found that out the hard way today. 

When Trye Harvey picked up the telephone this morning, she almost lost it.

"I got a call from the school about 11:48 saying my son had been thrown, his head had been closed into a bathroom stall."

She says the assistant principal told her *she* examined him and that the injury was minor. That statement left Harvey scratching her head. She wanted to see for herself, so she went to the school.

"He was bleeding from the head," Harvey says.

Blood, a bruise, and no medical staff on site.

Frustrated with the whole situation, Harvey went downtown to the school system's headquarters to find out what was going on. She never found out why a nurse wasn't at the school so we went to get answers.

"We have full time nurses at some of our elementary schools," says Deputy Superintendent Carlos Keith.

That's the problem.  Keith says middle and high schools in Dougherty County all have school nurses who work a full day. But at least 5 elementary schools have nurses who only work half a day.

So say a student is injured after 11 am. there may not be a nurse on site.

"So there's a shortage right now?" we asked.

"We have some on half-time, so you could say there's a shortage," Keith replied.

Phoebe Putney Hospital provides nurses for the school system. A spokesperson for the hospital couldn't give us details and said the person in charge of school nurses is out of town.

Parents like Harvey are concerned.

"What if he had an asthma attack, what if something serious happened to him where they have to call 911, whose going to be there to treat him until someone gets there?" she asks.

Harvey signed her son out of school and took him to the Emergency Room. Turns out, he's fine. But she says for the safety of other kids, she hopes Phoebe and the school system work out a plan.

Again Phoebe couldn't give us answers Wednesday. Deputy School Superintendent Keith says Phoebe plans to interview people to fill the vacancies. He says he appreciates the partnership the district has with the hospital.