ALABAMA (WHNT) — There have been growing concerns surrounding the shortage of school nurses across Alabama.

Health experts warn this could have a major impact on school health care services. With a constant need in schools for child-related healthcare services, the demand for school nurses is on the rise.

From outside opportunities at hospitals and doctors’ offices to the pandemic, both have exacerbated Alabama’s school nursing shortages.

Dana DePew, the Vice President of the Alabama Association of School Nurses says people are pursuing other opportunities with more pay.

“With the extra incentives they can get outside of the school area it’s hard to keep quality people in a job where they’re not being paid fairly to support their families,” DePew told News 19.

DePew explained the extended responsibilities nurses are tasked with and the perception that nurses at schools are only responsible for bandages and ice packs is one that does not describe their duties.

“Every student with any kind of health need is required to have an individualized health care plan the nurse is responsible for coming up with that health care plan to meet their needs at school,” DePew said.

School nurse pay hasn’t been increased since 2007.

With salaries being an issue, health officials are pushing for a bill in the legislature that would help address the shortage by increasing school nurse compensation.