Stories From Our KidsWell Clinics

Written by Amanda Cote

On February 8, 2013

Charleston Promise Neighborhood’s KidsWell Health and Wellness Initiative is a strategy to improve students’ access to healthcare so they are healthy and ready to learn. KidsWell Health and Wellness includes pediatric health clinics in our four elementary schools, health screenings, hunger amelioration, and other emergency needs.

KidsWell Health Screenings

A nurse checks a students hearing during KidsWell Health screenings.

Partnering with MUSC, a pediatrician spends 2 hours each week per school treating students that have been referred by a parent, CCSD school nurse, teacher or Principal.

Health screenings for the 2012-2013 school year started late September and were completed by mid-October. Over 1,000 students were screened for hearing, dental, and vision. Of those students, 177 were referred for follow-up treatment. The reason for conducting health screenings early in the school year is to enable staff to catch issues that could affect student learning. Key community partners such as Trident Health System, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, and student nurses from Trident Tech College made it possible for students in Charleston Promise Neighborhood to be screened in the first 2 months of school.

On the first day of health screenings at Sanders-Clyde, Vicky Ingalls, Charleston Promise Neighborhood Program Manager, as part of the screening team, met with a young student to check her hearing. She did not perform well at the different screening levels and the team asked the nurse to re-check the student’s ears. Rather than wait the customary two weeks to re-check the student’s ears, the school nurse scheduled a next day appointment for the KidsWell clinic. The timing was perfect, as the doctor was able to determine the student’s hearing issue was due to negative pressure. The student received an immediate treatment for the condition and was no longer in pain. On another day, a student experienced great difficulty with the vision screening test. The nurse learned that the student sat at the back of the room due to behavior issues. She was able to expedite his vision referral and inform the teacher of his vision screening result so that immediate changes were made with his seating arrangement.

Both of these stories exemplify why it is important to conduct health screenings early in the school year. Without the onsite clinic it may take several weeks for a parent or guardian to schedule an appointment with their own pediatrician, and then pull the student out of school for the appointment and miss several hours of class time. Instead, the KidsWell clinic minimizes potential delays and provides a mechanism for students to be seen during the school day.

The Charleston Promise Neighborhood‘s KidsWell Health and Wellness Initiative is committed to improving communication among all parties including the student, school nurse, teacher, and parent. Charleston Promise Neighborhood continues to work with school-based staff to expedite baseline health screenings, referrals, and follow-up activities to ensure all students have the opportunity to be healthy learners.