The increased workload for school nurses due to the COVID-19 pandemic has put an immeasurable strain on our workforce over the past two years. And while we recognize that schools have been provided additional funding to support increasing staff, there isn’t always staff available to hire. Finding experienced school nurses to provide for the health needs of students in your district and surrounding areas is challenging in absence of a pandemic.
As part of funding from the US CDC for COVID-19 Emergency Response, Public Health Crisis Response, Maine Department of Health and Human Services was awarded $8,861,778 for a two-year period, starting July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2023. This grant requires at least 25% of the award will support school-based health programs, including nurses or other personnel. The Telehealth School Nursing model was chosen as a priority to expand the reach of school nursing services while recognizing that there is a shortage of nurses nationwide and simply creating more school nursing positions is not going to meet the immediate need for schools.
Maine DHHS, in partnership with Maine Department of Education, has partnered to provide telehealth school nursing services to Maine schools that have gaps in nursing coverage. Finding an affordable delivery/platform solution to use as a channel to provide these specialized services to Maine schools is a challenge, but we hope that using this model we can help our schools maintain a safe environment and minimize health-related barriers to learning by providing safe, effective care from an experienced school nurse.
Depending on the needs in a school, there are two nursing models:
Nurse Extender Services – for schools with at least one part-time school nurse, the vendor acts as back-up urgent care coverage for existing nurse when they are not in the building
Primary School Nurse – a comprehensive school health program for schools with no or minimal nurse coverage
To learn more about this opportunity, please register in advance to attend a webinar to be held on, Friday November 5, 2021 at 2pm.
In order to participate in this program, schools will need to complete a short application. The State of Maine will cover the costs of this service through June 30, 2023 and schools that determine they would like to continue will have the opportunity to contract on their own to continue coverage.
For further information, questions, and support, contact Emily.Poland@maine.gov .
Telehealth School Nursing in the News:
SDN Helps Fund Avera Ecare School Nurses Caring For Growing Diabetes Cases https://sdncommunications.com/blog/sdn-helps-fund-avera-ecare-school-nurses-caring-for-growing-diabetes-cases
Dividing the Distance, Avera eCARE Helping Schools with Nursing Care https://www.ksfy.com/content/news/Avera-Medical-Minute-Dividing-the-distance-Avera-eCARE-helping-schools-with-nursing-care-495843071.html