Jan 08, 2018

Arizona Department of Health Services

There’s an App for That! Emergency Guidelines for Schools

Problem Statement: The school nurse plays a crucial role in the seamless provision of comprehensive health services to children and youth. Increasing numbers of students enter schools with chronic health conditions that require management during the school day.  Unfortunately, less than half of the country’s public schools employ a full-time nurse, and in some of the worst cases – largely in poor, urban school systems – there is only one school nurse for every 4,000 students.  This means that unlicensed personnel make health decisions in many school settings.

Approach: Children and youth can be injured or become ill during the school day. Such events may require non-urgent, urgent, or emergency health care at school. Schools should develop guidelines that address emergency health care especially if the school does not have a school nurse.  The initial Emergency Guidelines for Schools was developed in Ohio in 1997.  The guidelines have since been adopted by many states including Arizona, but needed updating.

Products/Outcome: Updating/printing and distribution of the Emergency Guidelines for Schools and the creation of mobile app “Health Kids AZ,” in collaboration with the Arizona School Nurses Association, Arizona Department of Education, Arizona Department of Health Office of Children with Special Needs and Arizona Department of Health Services Office of Infectious Disease.

Implications:  With 77% of individuals owning a smart phone, these phones are a dynamic tool useful in the professional environment.  Creating an application platform for the Emergency Guidelines for Schools provides instant access to the injury and medical care decision pathways for the unlicensed personnel. Thus, decision support is available almost anywhere and at any time when there is not access to a school nurse.