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Jennifer Hoskins using telehealth system to communicate with Nan Gaylord at VSHC
Jennifer Hoskins RN using bluetooth stethoscope to listen to Ja'Marion Odoms heartbeat at Pond Gap Elementary School. She is communicating with Dr. Nan Gaylord, at Vine School Health Center, through telehealth system.

The College of Nursing’s Vine School Health Center is marking Pediatric Nursing Week 2018—promoted October 1–5 by the Society of Pediatric Nurses—by continuing its growth through expanded telehealth services.

“Pediatric nurses specialize in the care of infants, children, and adolescents. They have expert knowledge in the clinical care of diseases, conditions, and issues that are specific to children and their growing and developing bodies. Pediatric nurses’ contributions to public health have a significant impact on the future health of our nation,” said Nan Gaylord, professor of pediatric nursing in the College of Nursing.

Founded in 1995, Vine School Health Center is a pediatric clinic operated jointly by the college and Knox County Schools. Located in the Langland Building behind Vine Middle Magnet School, the clinic offers an array of services, including well child exams, immunizations, health education, and mental health evaluations, to all Knox County Schools students who need health services and have difficulty getting access to them.

Among the center’s recent achievements is a substantial growth of its telehealth program. Vine’s telehealth service uses video calls to connect a school nurse to a nurse practitioner in the center to examine a child. The school nurse is equipped with a stethoscope to listen to the heart and other organs, an otoscope to look into the ears, and a derma scope to examine the skin.

The center’s telehealth program serves 11 schools in Knox County. Three elementary schools—Mooreland Heights, Spring Hill, and Sam E. Hill— are the most recent additions to the telehealth network.

“In the 2017–18 school year alone, we had 4,897 visits for physical health and 2,348 for mental health,” said Gaylord. That’s up significantly over the 3,322 visits logged in the 2013–14 school year.

At the center, UT nursing students provide direct health services under the supervision of their professors, while social work students provide therapy along with resource and insurance information for families under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker.

Additionally, Vine School Health Center now has six pediatric nurse practitioners, two social workers, two office managers, and one full-time registered nurse.

There are currently 66 senior nursing students enrolled in UT’s pediatric course, and another 70 will take the course during spring semester. To pass, they must complete 70 focused clinical hours in pediatric environments such as the Vine School Health Center and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, among other facilities.

“I believe there are now more students interested in pediatrics than we have ever had before,” said Tami Bland, coordinator of UT’s Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program. “That’s encouraging.”

For more information on Vine School Health Center and UT’s Pediatric Nursing program, visit the center’s website.

CONTACT:

Andrea Schneibel (andrea.schneibel@utk.edu, 865-974-3993)