Helping Nurses Help Kids

For many kids, the school nurse may be the only healthcare professional they see consistently. And the challenges many school nurses face are familiar to medical professionals everywhere: too little time, too few resources, and not enough opportunities for collaboration with peers.

As the national rate of children at risk for chronic health issues climbs, the role of school health services will be critical in understanding and treating these illnesses. In order to prepare school nurses to meet the demands of health care in an educational setting, Lori Anderson has created the web-based program eSchoolCare. A clinical professor at UW-Madison’s School of Nursing, Anderson designed the program to be used to manage the care of children with chronic health conditions such as asthma, severe allergies, diabetes, mental health issues, epilepsy, and cancer.

eSchoolCare, which is currently in use throughout Wisconsin and West Virginia, connects nurses with expertise from the UW-Madison School of Nursing and the American Family Children’s Hospital. There is immediate step-by-step guidance for student care: checklists, photos, videos, and links to community resources.

Helping kids better manage their chronic health conditions can make a substantial difference in their education and livelihood. Students with long-lasting health issues can miss as much as three times the amount of school as healthy children. They are less likely to live up to their academic potential, have lower odds of graduating from college or finding employment, and are more likely to need public assistance due to lower income.

By investing in students’ wellbeing at an early age, we can ensure a brighter future for them and for their communities.