A lack of continuing education opportunities for school nurses in our area was identified, and as a result, UMRHN developed it longest continuously running program in August 2007 – the School Health Workshop. School nurses in particular experience a great deal of turnover. A past survey of our participants revealed that 42% had been in their position for five years or less. UMRHN is the only organization of its kind in this region, focused on improving health by engaging and connecting leaders to align resources and strategies. The lead nurses from the Chester, Fairfield, and Lancaster school districts serve on our Planning Committee to ensure that topics are relevant and timely. We align our workshop date with the professional development day that is chosen by the Olde English Consortium, of which the Chester, Fairfield, and Lancaster county school districts are members. This ensures maximum participation for the school personnel in our region. Personnel from other districts are welcome to attend. In some cases, personnel from other districts even use their own vacation time to attend our workshops if their district’s professional development day falls on another date. The only other organization offering similar services is the State School Health Nurse Coordinator and the SC Association of School Nurses. However, we work in partnership with them to stagger dates and topics to reduce duplication. Personnel from those agencies have even served as presenters at our workshops.
School nurses play a key role in community safety, social support, and resources to children who might not receive care anywhere else. The percentage of uninsured children in our counties is 7% – 8%. All participants benefit from this workshop by receiving continuing education on timely and relevant issues. The Planning Committee tries to strike a balance between the basics that all school health professionals need with the emerging topics in today’s complex times. Some of the more foundational topics in the recent past have included: Legalities, Documentation and Healthcare Plans; GI Disorders and Complaints; and Triaging in Emergencies. More up-and-coming topics we have addressed recently include: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs); Human Trafficking; and Bullying. The broad range of topics incorporate a holistic view of student health that today’s school nurses and social workers must have. These issues impact the student’s participation in school and readiness to learn. We first began offering educational workshops for the 14 school nurses in two counties in 2007. The program has grown significantly, and in recent years we regularly draw 60-80 nurses from about one dozen counties.
For details about our next workshop, please go to the Events page.