The eSchoolCare Project: School Nurses Improving Care for Children with Chronic Illness

Monday, 30 July 2012

Lori S. Anderson, PhD, RN, CPNP
School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe why school nurses indicate they need support in caring for children with chronic conditions.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to give examples of how the eSchoolCare iPad application is used in a school setting.

School-age youth increasingly bring a variety of health-related needs into classrooms; this is true globally as well as in the US. The extent to which these needs are met has implications for children and families. The school nurse is the primary professional in the educational setting providing care for students with chronic conditions. eSchoolCare is an innovative iPad-based educational program intended to provide on-the-go support for rural, isolated school nurses who care for children with chronic health conditions. The 3-year project is funded by a grant from the US Health Resources and Services Administration.

The eSchoolCare program uses an iPad to deliver step-by-step evidence-based guidance for nurses on delivering care for common chronic conditions in schools on an anytime-anywhere basis.  The materials include checklists, videos, photographs, and links to journal articles and online resources. Five chronic pediatric conditions are covered: asthma, diabetes, severe allergy/anaphylaxis, cancer, and mental health disorders/ADHD. School nurses have identified these conditions as those most frequently encountered within the school environment and, therefore, nurses have indicated interest in further training. The materials were developed in partnership with advanced practice nurses at a local children’s hospital, will be based on established guidelines, and will be reviewed by a panel consisting of a physician, an advanced practice nurse, a school nurse, and an education expert.

eSchoolCare will affect as many as 34,000 children with chronic conditions by focusing on and serving about 90 school nurses practicing in rural, isolated areas. The program will be available to all school nurses in the targeted area by the end of May 2012.  Baseline evaluation data, including nurse/school demographics, use and satisfaction with the application, nurse knowledge, skill, and confidence, among others, will be collected at that time. This model has the potential to be implemented in rural, remote, or isolated areas globally.