Today is National School Nurses Day, which makes it the perfect day to share some good news from Newport. Thanks to funding from the Group Health Foundation, Newport School District has been awarded a grant to enact a School Population Health Program. This will allow for the School District and Newport Hospital Health Services (NHHS) to hire a new nurse, serving population health efforts on both campuses.
School nurses are a crucial community installment in health transformation; they help to reduce absenteeism due to illness, educate students early about their health, and address emergent health issues among the student population. This program aims to do exactly that, focusing on the following measures for children in rural Newport schools:
- Increase immunization compliance, and HPV education
- Reduce absenteeism due to asthma, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions
- Improve health education and health literacy
In addition, the nurse will work on the NHHS hospital campus in the Primary Care Clinic, serving as a population health nurse for adults, helping to forge stronger linkages between the school’s health program and the primary care services available throughout the hospital system. This connection will facilitate more timely education and interventions for students presenting with chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma. The new nurse will be hired this summer to start at the beginning of the 2016 school year.
This program will rely heavily on collaboration with the Pend Oreille Health Coalition, a grassroots community coalition to improve health outcomes in Pend Oreille County through a network of local partnerships. The Coalition will help Newport School District continue the program by solidifying sustainable funding past the grant period.
This is a great example of a community collaborating and crafting linkages to impact health. The benefits of these linkages, and the direct services the nurse will provide students and schools, are bound to ripple through Pend Oreille County. We are happy to celebrate National School Nurses day by spreading this good news!