Sioux City Community School District adding five nursing positions in 2023-24 school year

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 9:19 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - The Sioux City Community School District has 22 schools, and over 15,000 students. But, for over 20 years the district has only had eight nurses on staff. The district’s “prescription” in this situation: hire more nurses.

”Over the last 20 years, we’ve just had an increase in student health issues,” said Julie Thiele, Head Nurse for the Sioux City Community School District.”

Julie Thiele is the school district’s head nurse, and she has seen it all.

“Every day, we see illnesses, injuries, but we also manage chronic health conditions,” said Thiele. “Things like asthma, diabetes, seizures, anaphylaxis. And then, of course, with COVID we have a lot more kids that we want to closely monitor when they are ill to make sure it’s not something serious or that’s communicable.”

Right now, the school district’s eight nurses are each assigned 2 to 4 schools, and they rotate between buildings every 1 to 2 days. The district also has 10 CNAs on staff, who fill in at buildings where nurses aren’t working. At the beginning of the 2023-24 school year, the district will add 5 more nurses, for a total of 13. With the new additions, the district hopes to staff a nurse at the larger school buildings every day, with the CNAs at the smaller elementary schools.

“It’s going to be nice to have a nurse that can actually have more access to the kids on a daily basis for some of those ongoing chronic health conditions, and for when emergencies arise,” said Thiele. “We never know on any given day if we’re going to have one emergency or several.”

Funding will come out of the district’s budget, and Thiele says that the nursing staff is grateful to administrators for making student health a priority. School officials are confident that improving nursing will also have a positive effect in the classroom.

“Our priority is to educate our students, provide excellent education,” said Leslie Heying, Director of Communications & Community Engagement for the Sioux City Community School District. “And we want our students to be able to be there. And so, by having school nurses in our buildings, or even CNAs, which we have in many of our buildings right now, we can make sure that we can provide some services that our students need right there in our buildings without having those kids have to miss school to go outside for medical care.”

The district will interview for the new positions in the spring and summer.