The job of a school nurse is much more than taking someone’s temperature or putting a Band Aid on a wound. Increasing numbers of students are entering schools with chronic health conditions requiring management during the school day. School nurses play a crucial role in the seamless, on-site provision of comprehensive health services to children and youth. That’s why they spent part of their time in school learning how to meet these needs. The School of Nursing offers the Kids First training program twice a year. The next session is scheduled for Monday, January 7th, 2019.
Kids First is a new initiative by UT Austin School of Nursing and Texas’sRegion XIII School Districts to ensure that school children receive good care by providing the latest training for school nurses on basic and complex health skills and knowledge. Trained clinical and public health School of Nursing faculty were on hand to provide nearly 300 school nurses updated nursing skills training and information sessions on a variety of student health issues, including Type I diabetes, ADHD/psychotropic medication use, addiction, anxiety, suicide prevention and workplace violence.
Leigh Goldstein, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, clinical assistant professor of nursing, explained why this type of training is vital.
“Children have all kinds of health issues when they come to school and if they aren’t healthy, or don’t feel well, or have a toothache, they will not learn,” she said. “School nurses make sure kids get the care they need. We’re here to support them and provide the training that will help them address the student health issues they face every day.”
School nurses received hands on experience in the School of Nursing simulation and skills laboratories and learned the most up-to-date, evidence-based methods for catheterization, cleaning gastrostomy tubes, and other essential skills while refreshing assessment skills to recognize abnormal heart and lung sounds, and ear infections. The simulation and skills labs are home to state-of-the-art mannequins that allowed participants to practice clinical performance and critical thinking skills in a realistic but simulated clinical setting.
“The training program was customized based on school nurses’ perceived needs and aims to ensure a uniform skill set across Central Texas,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Most people are unaware of the rigorous qualifications required of school nurses and the challenges and complexities they face in treating children of all ages, backgrounds, and health care needs. These nurses must be vastly skilled and knowledgeable in order to provide students a high-level of care.”