KXAN (08/09/18) Davis, Chris
The University of Texas at Austin (UT) recently worked with 12 school districts in Central Texas to offer continuing education to approximately 300 school nurses. The training took place at UT's nursing school, which features up-to-date labs and equipment. Participants studied areas such as mental and behavioral health, diabetes care and cleaning and modifying tracheostomies. "It gives us a chance to practice that in a safe setting," said Loree LaChance, director of the Austin Independent School District's (AISD) school health services for Seton Healthcare Family. To better customize the training to the districts' various needs, the nursing school staff surveyed the school nurses prior to the training.
UT School of Nursing's Leigh Goldstein, an assistant professor of clinical nursing who oversees the training, noted that school nurses are often the first to diagnose such chronic health conditions as cardiac, back or vision problems. She added that school nurses are often compelled to complete their continuing education on their own time and with their own funds. This training was sponsored by the school districts. A 2015 survey by the National Association of School Nurses found that more than a third of school nurses nationwide desired additional training in mental and behavioral health, while 30 percent cited a need for further education about tracheostomies and other "medically fragile" techniques.