Charged with caring for children in one of the nations largest public school systems, about 1,200 nurses who make up the staff of the New York Citys Office of School Health use innovative programs to ensure kids who suffer from diabetes and asthma can attend school without worry.
The BEAT Diabetes initiative is a joint effort between Department of Health physician Diane Berger, MD, and school health nurses. The program uses the acronym CANDY, which stands for CoAching Nurses about Diabetes in Youth, and documents a day in the life of a fictional character with diabetes named Sammy.
Using emotion flashcards, nurses communicate with students about how they feel at a particular time. A poster presentation of the BEAT Diabetes initiative won first prize at the National Association of School Nurses conference in 2008, and the program has become part of every newly hired nurses orientation.Displaying a character named Sammy that was developed specifically for the BEAT DIABETES program, the nurses use emotion flashcards when asking children with diabetes to describe how they feel.
Managing Asthma in our Schools, or MAS, is a coordinated effort to identify all students with asthma and put them under a care management plan that would keep them healthy. Since its inception, there has been a demonstrated decrease in the number of ER visits, medical visits and school absentees, says Kathleen Mulholland, RN, administrative PHN, staff development. Other programs, such as the NYC Asthma Partnership, is a collaboration between the city, the department of health and parents to ensure schools remain asthma-friendly. An initiative of that program is the no idling in front of schools rule.
The Office of School Health is a joint entity of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the New York City Department of Education. We have one of the best programs in the country, said Carole Marchese, RN, director of nursing. This group has a done a phenomenal job managing the needs of the city.