By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – A registered nurse will soon be on duty at the high school after district trustees accepted a school nursing services agreement Monday night from Yalobusha General Hospital.
The proposal was first presented to the board at their Feb. 21 meeting by Hospital Administrator Terry Varner. At the time, Varner said that having a school nurse could decrease absenteeism by assessing students for illnesses or injuries that occur during the school day.
He explained that an RN could handle such things as screenings, treatments, and providing students with their already prescribed medications. He also assured the board that the nurse would coordinate with providers in the local medical community for other health care services.
Varner was asked to bring a proposed contract to the March 7 meeting, which the Board took under advisement.
On Monday night Trustees Casey Washington, Dr. Steve Edwards, and Pierce Epes voted to accept the contract while Taylor Trusty – an employee of Yalobusha General – abstained. Absent for the vote was Board President Lamar Burgess.
Preceding the vote, the board members held a brief discussion of the agreement’s language. Dr. Edwards flipped through the pages and said that he was under the impression that there would be no cost to the parents or the school district. “It says in the agreement that the services are free,” he continued. “Is that your understanding, Dr. Moran.”
Superintendent Dr. Deborah Moran answered that it was her understanding that it would be the parent’s obligation to pursue any services that would require a fee or insurance.
“This is not going to be a situation where services are rendered and a bill is delivered,” commented Wash-ington.
“What about counseling services?” questioned Dr. Edwards. “They won’t be doing anything like reproductive counseling or anything like that.”
“That’s my understanding,” Dr. Moran answered. “No, they’re here strictly to be a registered nurse.”
“She may administer medication, but it is going to be medication provided by the parent,” Dr. Moran added. “So, the prescription is going to be something done outside the school not through the school.”
The superintendent said that the district had the option to expand the role of the nurse next year. But, for now, the nurse’s role is more that of support for the student’s family. “The parents have the final decision.”