Glendale school officials recently made room for more nurses to join the staff as they move to address students' health concerns and slowly recover from past budget cuts.
Last year, a combination of full- and part-time credentialed school nurses filled 9.5 positions and those credentialed school nurses shared responsibilities among Glendale's 30 schools. This year, 11 nurses will tackle that job after the district chose to create an additional full-time position as well as another part-time position.
Currently, there are four part-time nurses, and the person filling the new part-time spot will work three days per week.
"It has a huge effect on what we can do," said Lynda Burlison, a nurse who also serves as the district's health coordinator. "We have so many students now with a variety of health issues. You have to have people who know what they're doing, and do what it takes to help keep them in class."
Across Glendale, health coordinators stationed at each of the 30 schools track students' immunizations, help those not feeling well or those who are injured.
A new priority for school officials this year is to replace the health coordinator positions with licensed vocational nurses when the health coordinators retire or as those posts become open.
Licensed vocational nurses are able to administer shots, such as insulin for diabetic students — a task health coordinators aren't allowed to perform, officials said.
The new positions will give school nurses "a little source of relief" because they often travel among the various Glendale schools to give students shots, said Kelly King, assistant superintendent of Glendale Unified.
"By us hiring some LVN positions to serve that role as health clerk, if they do have a student that [needs] an insulin injection, they're able to do that at the school," she said.