by Carilyn Rains BSN, M.Ed, RN, Nurse Leader – Sandwich Public Schools
The Nurse Leaders of Barnstable, Sandwich, and Monomoy Public School districts are pleased to announce that they have received a new grant, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH) Innovative Care Coordination Grant. The focus of the grant is behavioral health concerns in the school aged child for the FY14-15 school year. A behavioral/mental health nurse liaison has been hired to work with school nurses and behavioral/mental health providers to increase communication and collaboration with the goal of providing enhanced coordinated care for our district students. This nurse liaison will also provide professional development programming for school nurses and district support staff relative to behavioral health concerns.
MA DPH has recognized the increasing impact of students with behavioral health concerns in our school communities which impacts optimal learning and achievement. The outcomes we will be tracking include, but are not limited to the following: # of health encounters, nursing assessment/intervention and disposition, mobile/crisis and 911 calls, time in office, and absenteeism.
A pre and post survey of school nurses and others will be conducted to determine needs and to identify areas where improved collaboration and support are needed to best support students and learning outcomes. Additionally, a guide will be developed to provide resources and tools to support school nurse practice in the area of behavioral health. As Essential Health School Services (ESHS) funded districts, we are very excited to have been selected for the “Care Coordination Project,” and look forward to this collaboration.