Meeting school nurses where they are

School nurseSchool nurses are on the front lines of child health care, but with a growing incidence of chronic conditions among children, they are busier than ever before. With most of their schedules jam-packed with sick kids, how do they find time to stay up-to-date on best practices for treating these chronic conditions?

This conundrum was the driving force behind a new webinar series on treating children with type 1 diabetes and obesity. The endocrinology team for Missouri Telehealth Network’s telehealth-based program to educate primary care providers, Show-Me ECHO, had hoped to attract school nurses to join the sessions.

Unfortunately, these sessions occurred during one of the busiest hours of the day for school nurses – lunchtime. The “Endo ECHO” leader, Endocrinologist Uzma Khan, M.D., FACP noticed a strong interest from school nurses but an inability for most to attend. So through a combined effort of Missouri Telehealth Network and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), a plan was devised to design a webinar for school nurses during more convenient hours. More than 80 school nurses from across the state attended the first of the series of four webinars launched in March, 2017.

DHSS School Health Program Nurse Consultant Barb Spaw, explained that a packed schedule isn’t the only obstacle for school nurses – they can be geographically and professionally isolated. “School nurses in rural areas may be the only one in their school district,” said Spaw. “Many can’t get away to travel to trainings. That’s one of the reasons I believe there was such a good response to the webinar.”

The webinar series, which concluded April 20, was led by subject matter experts Janeth Brown-Todd, DNP, APRN, PCNS-BC, and Danita Rife, RN, FNP-BC.

For more information about accessing the webinars, please contact Barbara Spaw at Barbara.Spaw@health.mo.gov.

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