Norman Schools Get Aid from Hospital


Thursday, December 18th 2008, 7:51 pm
By: News 9


By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

NORMAN, Oklahoma -- Norman residents have made a community goal of becoming the healthiest community in the southwest and Norman Regional Hospital and Norman Public schools have teamed up to help out.

The situation in the Norman Public School district was dire. Thousands of children in the Norman Public School district had limited access to school nurses.

At Whittier Elementary in Norman, 14-year-old Katelyn Shaw visits the school nurse every single day.

Katelyn has Down syndrome and Type 1 Diabetes, and her blood sugar needs to be taken before lunch. The school nurse Jennifer Osburn is there to help Katelyn.

"I'm not getting phone calls from the schools saying, ‘You need to come up and check Katelyn's blood sugar,'" said Katelyn's mother, Ashley Shaw.

There didn't use to be a full time nurse at the school.

The school district had only two part-time nurses for the 14,000 students, which is why Norman Regional Hospital developed a detailed plan.

"We would help recruit, train and place qualified health professionals in all the high schools, middle schools and elementary schools," said the hospital's President and CEO, David Whitaker.

All 22 sites are staffed with registered nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, aids and travelling nurses.

"I can't imagine what they did before they had us," LPN Jennifer Osborn said. "I see anywhere from 25-50 kids each day. As we go into winter, I see more like 40-60 each day."

Many in the Norman School district believe the nurses are making an impact on the students.

"It's not just impactful to the kids that are seeing these people, and the relationships that they build," Superintendent Joseph Siano said. "It's impactful because it reaches out into that family and community."

Katelyn's mother is glad to have the nurses.

"I don't worry when she goes to school, I know that there's somebody here to look out for her," Shaw said. "If there's a problem, they'll let me know right away."