EMS providers help address nurse shortage at Mass. school district
Holyoke district would have closed schools without help from Action Ambulance EMTs and paramedics on their days off
By Leila Merrill
HOLYOKE, Mass. — Despite their own staffing shortage, Action Ambulance EMTs and paramedics are working extra shifts to cover a school nurse shortage in Holyoke, WWLP reported.
Holyoke Public Schools said via Facebook that it was at risk of closing schools if one more nurse needed time off.
“The school nurses are receiving the support they need from state-licensed healthcare providers who are happy to be working with our students,” said Holyoke Public Schools Receiver/Superintendent Anthony Soto. “With their help, we are bridging this current shortage in school nurses with at least five of our staff being out on leave this week and next.”
Action Ambulance Chief Strategy Officer Frank McNeil praised his employees.
“Our staff responded immediately to the request to help out in Holyoke schools,” said McNeil. “They are working on their days off, and we are readjusting our schedules to make this all work.”
Both the ambulance service and Holyoke Public Schools are coping with staffing challenges.
“Action Ambulance is also facing staffing shortages, and yet their employees were happy to step up for the students of Holyoke when we really need their help. Our nurses are so appreciative of this support. It’s been a very challenging time for them, and they’ve continued to do an outstanding job meeting critical care needs even while we’ve been short staffed. This support from Action Ambulance comes at a critical time for us,” HPS Director of Health, Wellness, and Nursing Cynthia Carbone.
School resource medic: A new role for EMS as kids go back to school
With EMS run volume down 25% or more in many communities, how can EMTs and paramedics help in schools with COVID-19 screening, role modeling healthy behavior and teaching life-saving skills?