News

Actions

Tennessee school nurses ask for a pay increase

school nurse
Posted at 5:47 PM, Apr 11, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — School nurses do more than give out ice packs and stop nose bleeds, and those in the profession said their salaries from their school districts should reflect it.

Nurses are now taking their fight for better pay to the Tennessee legislature, with a bill filed that would pay nurses on the same level as certified teachers. The bill — HB2233/SB2221 — is moving through both the House and Senate.

Danielle Kriminger worked as a school nurse for 15 years. But she recently stepped away from her role as a school nurse supervisor for the Clarksville Montgomery County School district to focus on advocacy.

"I have a lot of nurses work a second job have to work in the summer, depending on the district that they're in. They may not get paid at all during the summertime so they go three months without payment," Kriminger.

Kriminger said some school nurses — like LPNs — are bringing home less than $30,000 a year despite their years of experience.

The bill requires school districts to classify school nurses as licensed personnel and to compensate school nurses according to the salary schedule adopted licensed personnel for the respective school year. It establishes certain salary requirements for nurses based on licensure status, training and experience.

"I have a lot of nurses who work a second job and have to work in the summer, depending on the district that they're in. They may not get paid at all during the summer time so they go three months without payment," Kriminger said. "They have to work a night job or do home health after they get out of school."

Kriminger said the biggest opposition to these bills are the school districts. The Department of Education doesn't collect data on nurse salaries and it is unknown how many districts aren't currently compensating school nurses at the same level as licensed personnel, according to the fiscal memo provided to lawmakers.

"I feel like if each district put the child first, which I think is everybody's responsibility, they would realize that providing quality nurses for their students is the best thing to do for them."

If the bill becomes law, it will apply for the 2022-2023 school year.