• Faculty, staff work together during nursing staff shortage to help meet goals of department

    Editor’s note: Bellefonte Area School District is seeking applicants for job vacancies. If interested, please check out the list of job opportunities and apply, here: Job openings. You may also contact district substitute coordinator Jeffrey Baker for substitute opportunities by emailing him at jbaker@basd.net.

    nohsEvery so often, certified school nurses Rachel Griel or Alex O’Brien send an email to district faculty and staff giving an update on days when a nurse’s office staffing shortage impacts how the office is operated that day.

    When that happens, priorities are made that follows acuity and census to fill the most needed areas within Bellefonte Area School District. It also means other district employees step up to help fill the gaps.

    Griel and O’Brien work alongside three health room assistants and another long-term substitute in an effort to serve students. Each heath room assistant is assigned to one of the four elementary schools, with Griel and O’Brien working at the middle and high schools, and also often rotating among schools as necessary. A shortage of workers, however, leaves voids in the department when one of them is out of the district, in addition to limited-to-no applicants for open positions like one for a heath room assistant at Benner Elementary School.

    “The goal of a school nurse is to keep kids in school when possible and have a safe environment for them to be in,” Griel said. “That’s what we do and that’s what we constantly aim for.”

    They talk more in this Q&A with district Director of Public Relations Brit Milazzo about how the nursing staff shortage impacts the district, and how faculty and staff from all departments work together to help get the job done.

  • How do you work around the nursing staff shortage?

  • Who fills the void when that happens?

  • What kind of response has that gotten?

  • Is the nursing shortage a problem due to the pandemic?

  • How do the sacrifices weigh on the schools and students?

  • How important is trust among families?

  • What is the difference between a certified school nurse and a health room assistant?

  • What do you like about your job that could attract others to apply for vacancies?