School Nurse Corner

While it wasn’t always as organized as it is today, Pulaski County Public Schools has always prioritized the safety and security of its students. Some members of that staff have even taken additional steps to ensure that should they ever be needed, they are prepared to render aid to anyone in distress.


“When I was employed by PCPS in 1999, we were teaching CPR classes for some of our staff,” Mary Hall, PCPS Supervisor of School Health Services said. “It was generally understood that all our coaches and PE teachers would have training because at that time, we did not have full time nurses in our schools. In 2006 our field trip policy (IICA-R) was revised to state we had to have a staff member trained in CPR/First Aid riding each bus, so at that time we started training more staff.”


While it started with just having a few members of the staff prepared, the number has now grown to new heights.


There are currently roughly 690 people employed by Pulaski County Public Schools. That number includes teachers, administration, bus drivers, and custodians. 


Counting those at each school and at the School Board Office, there are currently 525 individuals who are trained through the American Red Cross in First Aid, CPR, and use of the AED machine. Also, all bus drivers and paraeducators are trained alongside of PCPS Maintenance and Ground Department workers. Training is also offered to coaches who may not be employees. Cafeteria staff members, in addition to the training other staff members receive, are also trained in how to properly administer abdominal thrusts, also known as the Heimlich Maneuver, in the event of a choking incident.


“I think it’s safe to say that 2/3 of our staff is trained,” Mrs. Hall said. “We offer classes in February and September each year to keep people up to date. We work directly with the Red Cross to ensure we have the latest and most up to date information. Outside of the training, having the AED machines located at each school in several locations are one of our biggest assets right now. First aid kits and ‘Rapid Revive’ kits are also located at each school. At each first aid kit we also have a ‘Stop the Bleed’ kit available.”


Training is currently taking place. Hall and designated trainers attend Red Cross training courses to become certified to teach CPR and the other skills, then return to teach the staff members and others.


“When we finish our classes this month, we will have certified 309 staff members,” Hall said. “We will probably teach about the same number in September and will offer training to all our new staff members.”


As with anything else, there are costs to consider.


“We have to pay for our trainers to be trained, then we have to pay for our staff members to be certified,” Hall said. “There is also the cost of supplies, which we have to keep updated and current. Fortunately, we’re able to use grant money to handle some of these expenses. We work with the Red Cross to try to get costs reduced as much as we can also. In the end, we consider it a very good investment. We also hope it’s a reassurance to the parents and guardians to know that we have so many staff members trained.”