The school board voted 5-0 in favor of a proposed partnership with St.Vincent’s Health to staff four nursing vacancies in the school district.
Board president Layla Spanenberg said current Carmel Clay school nurses “don’t need to worry about losing their positions. This is only to help fill the four vacant positions.”
With the partnership, St.Vincent administrators would recommend qualified nurses and the school district would retain the right to approve recommendations. These nurses would remain St.Vincent Health employees while serving in Carmel Clay school positions.
“We have really good (nurses) in our district,” director of Human Resources Ryan Newman said. “This is only to fill those four open positions.”
Newman assured the board the lead nurse position would be filled with an existing Carmel Clay nurse.
“We will (also) continue to employ our own substitute nurses,” he said.
While the partnership is cost neutral, Newman explained how it would broaden the applicant pool and expand professional development opportunities for current nursing staff.
School calendars often reduce applicant pools for school nursing positions. However, as St.Vincent employees, nurses could serve in schools while continuing employment through the summer within the hospital system.
St.Vincent’s Director of Social Services and Community Outreach Beth Petrucce suggested inviting Carmel Clay nurses to St.Vincent’s training seminar before the school year begins.
“It’s three full days of training on the newest techniques on diabetes care, asthma care, and more for the school environment,” Petrucce said.
St.Vincent would also consider telecasting monthly meetings. Nurses on duty at school sites would benefit from announcements of upcoming healthcare training opportunities.
Board member Greg Philips approved of the partnership, but requested close monitoring by the school district.
“I’m going to trust that administrators will keep a close watch on turnover,” Philips said.
“If we felt there was a high turnover with these positions,” Newman said, “it’s certainly something we’d want to address.”
When Newman initially proposed the partnership, he clarified the positions are “not on a rotation basis.” He said, “it will be a consistent person, keeping in mind illness or days off.”
Interim Supt. Steve Tegarden assured the board all Carmel Clay nursing staff have been kept updated on this proposal. Newman added nursing staff have not contacted administrators with concerns.
A similar partnership with St.Vincent has proven successful at the new Carmel Clay Schools Wellness Center. The wellness center provides Carmel Clay employees and their families a range of healthcare services just steps from the high school grounds. Staffed by St.Vincent, the center reduced healthcare costs for both employees and the school district.