The past few years have seen the rise of telehealth services in many different areas, and now it seems that telehealth is making improvements in yet another category- schools.
Are we replacing the school nurse with telemedicine?! No, not quite. As a matter of fact, quite the opposite. Telemedicine doesn’t replace school nurses- it empowers them.
According to the National Association of School Nurses, the nurse is effectively “the bridge between health and education.” Obviously, that bridge needs to be fortified as much as possible; nurses throughout the country are finding that telehealth gives them the tools they need to keep that bridge nice and, if we may…healthy.
Here is how school nurses can use Telehealth:
- Health promotion and education
- Acute/emergency care- prevention of a trip to the ER
- Communicable disease prevention- little Johnny just walked in with some pretty severe symptoms? A quick conference with linked professionals could get a diagnosis, a treatment plan, and get little Johnny home, resting and away from the rest of his class to prevent this bug from “going around.”
- Addressing mental/emotional health- educational and social pressures abound in any school setting, and nurses see the physical repercussions of them every day. Why not equip them with a telehealth team to fully address their students’mental/emotional stresses?
- More efficient management of chronic conditions, allowing students to remain in school
- Overall improvement in student attendance
- Bonus- overall improvement in work productivity for parents, who won’t need to be as worried about, or always leaving the office to pick up, their children
In their piece, Role of School Nursing in Telehealth, the National Association of School Nurses explains, “The school nurse is on the frontlines of school health services and has the expertise to provide the critical link and oversight to successfully implement and utilize telehealth/telemedicine technology in the school setting.” (June 2017)
Why not give school nurses a little help on those frontlines, and keep that bridge from health to education as sturdy as possible?
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