Student Health Services Summary
Children’s/AISD Student Health Services (SHS) is a collaboration just completing its sixteenth year. The Seton Healthcare Family contracts with the Austin Independent School District (AISD) for the provision of student health services. SHS staff, including Registered Nurses and School Health Assistants, Clinical Managers, and the Director and Medical Director, are employees of Seton Healthcare Family/Dell Children’s Medical Center. The Quality Improvement Consultant is contracted with Seton Healthcare Family. Each campus has a Registered Nurse who functions as the leader and coordinator of the student health services team. The District contact for SHS is the AISD Supervisor of Health Services. The focus of services is on wellness/health promotion/prevention, and the elimination of non-educational barriers to learning.
Congruent with AISD’s promotion of national accreditation for teachers, RNs pursue national accreditation in nursing through the National Board for Certification of School Nurses. Within Children’s/AISD Student Health Services (SHS), 16 nurses are Nationally Certified School Nurses, and an additional nurse has an alternative national certification.
Student Health Services Program
In 1996, Austin Independent School District established a formal relationship with the Seton Healthcare Family to provide school health services on a contracted basis, in response to a need identified by the District. This program, named Children’s/AISD Student Health Services uses a tiered model in which a registered nurse and school health assistant work together to provide health related services at schools. The model also provides the school nurses and school health assistants with immediate access to support from centrally based nurse managers, a nurse director of student health services, a physician medical director, and if needed, to the additional resources of a tertiary care pediatric medical center and the many clinical specialists who work at Dell Children’s Medical Center. This public/non-profit school health collaboration was the first of its kind in the nation.
During the past 16 years, the close relationship between Austin ISD and Children’s/AISD Student Health Services program has led to various awards and recognition, including accolades from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Austin Chamber of Commerce, Texas Department of Health, and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Recently in 2009, Children’s/AISD Student Health Services’ Sally Freeman, MSN, RN, NCSN, director; and Dr. Stephen Pont, medical director; and their partners at AISD, specifically Mel Waxler, AISD General Counsel, and Tracy Lunoff, AISD Supervisor of Health Services, received letter of commendation for the leadership role and collaborative effort they provided to the Austin community during the H1N1 outbreak and epidemic.
An additional major program milestone occurred in 2004, when Children’s/AISD Student Health Services implemented a city wide immunization collaboration, which pooled resources to immunize over 30,000 students. Many students were in need of immunizations due to vaccine shortages and immunization requirement changes. Additionally, a ruling by the attorney general led to the requirement by the Texas Department of State Health Services that all students must be current with immunizations to attend school. The success of these collaborations continues. Not only has AISD consistently met the state’s 95% District immunization compliance rate, in fact Children’s/AISD Student Health Services has set a higher internal standard of >95% compliance at each school, and have achieved that higher standard since 2004.
Children’s/AISD Student Health Services aligns with the mission, vision, values and goals of AISD, and wants all students to be fit, healthy and ready to learn!