The Paintsville Independent Schools Board of Education approved a measure during its regular meeting Monday that would add a nurse practitioner to the elementary and high school campuses over the upcoming school year.

PISD Student Health Coordinator Paul Baker introduced Big Sandy Health Care CEO Ancil Lewis to the board, who went in-depth explaining the services already performed at the school, including dentist visits which are covered by the company, a non-profit organization, in the case of students who do not have insurance or whose insurance does not cover dental work.

Lewis then explained the placement of a nurse practitioner within a school district, and that this practitioner could diagnose and treat illness for not only students, but also faculty.

“We have provided dental services for a few years, and we would like to continue providing those services,” Lewis said. “We are also prepared to put a nurse practitioner into PISD. Of course, the advantage there is, a nurse practitioner, they practice pretty independently and they can diagnose and treat a broad spectrum of problems, including prescribing medications. The advantage, of course, is it grants you the ability to keep kids in the school. They don’t have to go home, and they don’t have to be taken out to see a provider.”

Lewis said the inclusion of a nurse practitioner last year in the Floyd County school district was well received.

“This past year, we had a nurse practitioner at South Floyd Elementary in Floyd County,” Lewis said. “The nurse practitioner there, of course, saw kids, teachers and staff and they gave her a good report card.”

PISD Superintendent David Gibson said the addition would be welcome and referenced his experiences with nurse practitioners in his previous school districts.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with your Hope Family Medical Center when I was in Magoffin County, so I know the service you provide,” Gibson said. “So, in essence, we’re going to have one of the best medical programs for our schools around. We’ll have a nurse practitioner in our buildings, and we’ll also still have Ms. Lauffer, she’ll be helping with that as well. Our kids, if they’re feeling under the weather, will have the opportunity to go here first. I think it’s a great idea.”

The Paintsville Independent Schools Board of Education meets on the first Monday of each month at 5:15 p.m. in the district’s administrative building and all meetings are open to the public.

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