Engaging Schools as part of Community Team

How did Connie and Cheryl engage schools as part of the Community asthma teams when coming at it from a health provider viewpoint.  We see health delivery and education have challenges communicating with each other.

We actually had nurses who were hospital employees embedded in the schools. This allowed us to bring some of our hospital based expertise to the school and find some early wins with the schools. Not only were we able to demo how care plans kept students safer it also made staff feel more in control. The albuterol protocol demonstrated how we were able to keep kids in schools and improve safety. Other schools were then very excited to do the same for students in their buildings.  Recognizing that having a nurse in a school may not be available everywhere, sharing the success of the efforts. Essentially learning to "speak school", ie attendance, safety, parent satisfaction, teacher comfort etc to identify items that make sense from the schools view point.

Did the embedded school nurses do any prevention activities like "walk arounds" to classrooms to look for triggers like Diane described in San Antonio and/or were they able to make suggestions to administrators/custodians regarding mitigating any triggers they noted?

There have been some changes made in the school environment based on nurse observations and suggestions. Due to the sheer number of school and classrooms the nurses cover to care for students and staff in everyday needs this aspect has not been executed to the extent that we would consider optimal. With improved nurse to student ratios that we are seeing we certainly see this as an area for optimization in the future.

We, with the SCAA,  contacted the Coordinator of Health Services in the Greenville County Schools and asked "how" we could work together to coordinate efforts to help our children with asthma. We initially began this with the School Medication forms as we ( PMD ) received so many different forms.... from the same county. We piloted one form that they created.This led to a decrease in paperwork and a better understanding of what the PMD has taught and recommends for the patient to follow in addition to letting the nurse know of specific instructions.. We attach the patient's  action plan to the school form though the school will in most instances not be delivering the daily meds. The parents have given permission for communication to /from the school. 

The SCAA ( of which we are a part  and paticipate)  also began to offer educational seminars for school nurses at the beginning of the school years.

As we case manage, we  attempt to keep open communication with not only the Coordinator of this school district and their nurses ... but as our children attend 3 maybe 4 other counties in addition to Charter Schools...we also attempt contact with the administrative individuals or school nurses in these facilities. 

We have not found difficulty in engaging the schools and hope with open communication they have not found difficulty in engaging us. The school nurses opinions and insights are extremely valuable. A great example of this is their notification as to what time of day a child is either asking for or needing a rescue med. Is it after recess or PE? Maybe exercise induced symptoms. Is it first thing in the morning on Monday? Weekend or home environment concerns?

School nurses are helpful in so many ways!