Study finds more students with special health care needs and less nurses

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The recent controversy over who is permitted to administer diabetes injections to children in school underscores a larger issue: Health services for California students with special health care needs vary greatly by school district, are provided by a variety of school staff, operate under a confusing patchwork of regulations, and are often underfunded, according to a new study.

Researchers from California State University-Sacramento’s School of Nursing analyzed 2011-2012 state education data, interviewed school education experts, and conducted a large-scale survey of certified school nurses who are members of the California School Nurses Association. The research, which will be presented today at the California School Nurses Association conference in Sacramento, was funded by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health.

California is home to an estimated 1.4 million children with chronic health issues, ranging from mild to life-threatening. About 16% of 6-to-11 year-olds and 20% of 12-to-17 year-olds have a special health care need that may require additional health services at school to allow for their full participation.

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