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Nurse leader proud of schools' health aid.

Byline: Paula PAULA Possession of Alcohol Under the Legal Age  J. Owen

FITCHBURG Fitchburg, industrial city (1990 pop. 41,194), seat of Worcester co., N Mass., on the north branch of the Nashua River; settled c.1730, inc. as a city 1872. Its important paper industry dates approximately from 1805.  - Fitchburg school district's nurse leader Pamela J. Rivers said the schools' 13 nurses are helping keep children healthy.

Ms. Rivers updated the Fitchburg School Committee this week on what the nurses in the district are doing and how a $98,000 state grant is helping them provide essential school health services School Health Services are services from medical, teaching and other professionals applied in or out of school to improve the health and well-being of children and in some cases whole families. .

It is the second year the district has received the grant, she said. Last year, it got $120,000.

In all the schools, 76 percent of students used school health services in some way, she said, around 50 to 100 students per day. Also, around 30 staff members used

school health services, she said, and services were provided to visitors in the schools.

Nurses administer more than 9,000 medications per year, and 37 percent of students in the district have special health care needs.

Moreover, 46 percent of students are overweight Overweight

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For example, if a company normally holds a portfolio whose weighting of cash is 10%, and then increases cash holdings to 15%, the portfolio would have an overweight
, a problem that also is increasing on the national level, Ms. Rivers said.

Health procedures commonly performed by nurses include tube feeding tube feeding,
n a method for supplying liquid nutrition through a tube that passes through the nasal passages and into the stomach. This method is utilized when ingesting food through the oral cavity is inadvisable or painful due to surgery or injury.
, blood pressure monitoring and asthma asthma (ăz`mə, ăs`–), chronic inflammatory respiratory disease characterized by periodic attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, and a tight feeling in the chest. A cough producing sticky mucus is symptomatic.  treatments. On average, students are out of class 15 minutes for the procedures, she said.

"It's minimal compared to being out of school for a whole day for treatment," she said.

After using health services health services Managed care The benefits covered under a health contract , 93 percent of students are able to go back to class, Ms. Rivers said - a higher rate of return to class than in other districts.

Also, nurses provide education on nutrition and physical fitness to students and staff, work to increase the number of students connected with primary care physicians and on health care, and direct students to other services, including counseling and mental health treatment.

"I'm pleased to work in a school system that supports the whole child," she said.

Ms. Rivers said computer software and equipment also were purchased for better collection of data and tracking.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Oct 22, 2009
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