New Online Resource for School Nurses Can Save Lives
Madison, Wisconsin - Following a successful year of field testing by school nurses in Wisconsin counties, an innovative project using iPads and customized software to improve child health is now gearing up for national release of its online resource August 22, timed to coincide with the start-up of the school year.
The eSchoolCare project of the UW-Madison School of Nursing offers resources to school nurses who take care of children with chronic health problems. Piloted in 14 counties, it is poised for expansion based on positive feedback from users. Already American Family Children’s Hospital, the Kenosha Community Foundation, Andrea & Orendorff LLP, and J.H. Findorff & Son have purchased multi-year licenses for school nurses in their communities, with more sponsorships in the works.
The project’s initial goal was to provide better care resources to thousands of Badger State children with specific chronic health conditions. During the pilot, expert-reviewed, up-to-date resources, training tools and an online community all focused on school-based care for children with asthma, diabetes, severe allergy, cancer, and mental health disorders.
“The initial response from school nurses in the pilot has been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic,” says eSchoolCare project director Lori Anderson, an assistant professor at the UW–Madison School of Nursing. “This was a resource that didn’t exist before, and it was something that nurses said they wanted and needed very much. Our rural Wisconsin school nurses are responsible for, on average, about 2,000 children each, which is quite a bit above the recommended level of one for 750 children,” says Anderson. “They’re usually the only school health care provider in the community, and they don’t have a lot of resources at their disposal. For nurses treating children with chronic conditions, this becomes more problematic because they don’t have the luxury of other health care professionals to consult with. So with our partners at American Family Children’s Hospital, we developed resources and recommendations for them that they can access with an iPad.”
eSchoolCare was originally developed and piloted with funding from a three-year $815,000 federal grant from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Nursing. Nearly 20 percent of all U.S. K-12 students come to school with chronic conditions. Persistent absenteeism caused by chronic illness increases achievement gaps at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. To date, eSchoolCare has been tested by 96 school nurses in 67 school districts, in 14 mainly rural counties in south-central Wisconsin. By the end of the term of the grant, Anderson projects that eSchoolCare will have been used to help approximately 34,000 children with chronic health conditions.
Anderson and the School of Nursing have partnered with theWisconsin Center for Education Products and Services (WCEPS) to make eSchoolCare available for a national audience at eschoolcare.org. WCEPS is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), organization created to extend the impact of UW’s educational innovations by developing and distributing them.
Anderson and her team will continue to update and improve eSchoolCare. This summer they will add new learning modules, including a medication training module and a nurse practice module. A module on seizure disorders is also being planned.
Date Published: 08/13/2013