Nurses and Parents Concerned for Ocean Springs Students

The recent announcement of registered nurses being let go from all schools within the Ocean Springs School district is a concern for many parents of students who receive constant medical attention.
News 25’s Kendra Turley caught up with registered nurses and families within the district, who will soon feel the effects of the district-wide change.
For 24 years, Dawn Wilson has spent most of her days taking care of others. She’s worked as a school nurse in the Ocean Springs School District for the past 12 years. “There’s lots of things that we deal with that people don’t realize. My husband made the unfortunate mistake of saying ‘all you do is put on Band-Aids.’ Um, that is not what we do,” said Wilson.
Wilson constantly provides medical attention to students at Ocean Springs High School dealing with chronic diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and more. “I also have students that I have to catheterize for urinary problems and we have tube feedings and these feedings often require not only the feeding but also medication,” said Wilson.
But soon, Wilson will have to separate from the many students she’s spent years and years looking after. Budget cuts have forced the district to let go of their nurses. Ocean Springs School District Superintendent Bonita Coleman-Potter said, “We’ve cut front offices from every single building. We’ve had to cut teacher units. We’ve cut administrator positions. So, sometimes when people say ‘well, why did you start here?’ This is very far from the start.”
The removal of registered nurses from the Ocean Springs School District could result in school secretaries or administrators having to take on the medical responsibilities of the students.
Riley Brown attends Pecan Park Elementary and is a type 1 diabetic. With the district replacing RN’s with licenses practical nurses, Riley’s mother, Juanna Brown, is concerned she won’t receive the proper level of medical attention she needs. “That person is also not going to be readily available to immediately take care of the needs of students that might need it and it could be a live or die situation in her case.”
In the meantime, nurses are hoping the future involves a healthy environment for all students involved. “I don’t want the care of the students to be compromised. That is what our main goal and focus is, to make sure that we have qualified help here for our students,” said Wilson.
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