PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As schools battle shortages in bus drivers and teachers, there is now a staffing crisis involving school nurses. Philadelphia schools are no exception to this obstacle.
Registered nurse Theresa Kulmheier has worked at the Lenfest Academy Mastery Charter School for 18 years. She’s important now more than ever.
“How my role is different now is that I have to ask more questions,” Kulmheier told CBS3, adding that only one student can be in her office at a time.
The protocols and changes can be overwhelming for school nurses, which is exactly what the Philadelphia School District is seeing. Nurses are ringing the alarm and protesting after COVID added more work to their already-full plates.
“What would be tantamount to two nursing positions at each school, so they are working long hours,” Jerry Jordan, the president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, told Eyewitness News.
In a survey conducted by the Philadelphia Federation Of Teachers, nearly 19% of school nurses report a drop in their building allotment. Around 28% said they don’t have COVID testing supplies, while 18% cited not having enough extra protective equipment. More than half the nurses surveyed are doing contact tracing alone.
“We met with the administration about the concerns. They need help and they need help now,” Jordan said.
Kulmheier’s school is adding more support staff to cope with burnout and stress.