The Public School System is committed to having nurses in schools but fears it may step on the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s toes as the latter is always on the lookout for nurses.
When asked last week whether Public School System schools still consider clinics as part of the system, Education Commissioner Cynthia Deleon Guerrero explained that the school nurses are a necessity, similar to school officials such as the principals, librarians, and teachers.
“I completely agree, we should have a nurse at every school,” said Deleon Guerrero. “The position of school nurses have always been a very important part of what we do and what we are as PSS.”
However, appointing a nurse to every school has its own set of challenges, the top of which is funding.
“PSS remains cognizant of the fact that over the years, the funding amount given to PSS did not support many full-time-equivalent employees, or FTE’s,” said Deleon Guerrero.
The PSS budget request for fiscal year 2018 amounts to $54 million
It has already been submitted to the Office of the Governor and the Legislature. PSS is now waiting for the identification and appropriation of funds.
At the same time, Deleon Guerrero does not wish “to pull away [nurses or certified clinical assistants] from the hospital.”
“We are revisiting that and we are looking at what the personnel needs are [for the schools],” she said.
CHCC has its own personnel struggles. A recent reports states that almost 200 CHCC employees are set to exit the CNMI by the end of the year due to the lack of appropriate visas.