Karen Rennie, a nurse educator at Northwell's Institute for Nursing,...

Karen Rennie, a nurse educator at Northwell's Institute for Nursing, demonstrates a procedure on a medical training mannequin.  Credit: Northwell Health/Lee Weissman

Northwell Health has launched a professional development program designed to help school nurses stay up to date on changes in the industry.

“One way of achieving that goal is through providing educational support to school nurses, who are vital in protecting the physical, emotional and mental health of children from kindergarten through high school,"  said Launette Woolforde, vice president of nursing education and professional development at Northwell Health.

Northwell said the new program meets a demonstrated need because unlike some states, New York does not require nurses  to participate in continuing education to maintain their licenses. Additionally, limited resources are available to school nurses who are interested in ongoing clinical education and skills practice as well as professional development.

Northwell said clinicians at Northwell’s Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park have regularly fielded calls from school nurses asking for guidance regarding new medical technology and practice guidelines.

The first clinical classes will be held in the 2019-2020 school year, and will cover best practices when handling anaphylaxis in a school setting, managing students with diabetes and caring for students with seizure disorders. The educational courses will update nurses on the latest evidence-based approaches to a variety of topics, including food allergies, childhood anxiety, the use of social media, urological issues, and human and child sex trafficking.

The educational program also includes Northwell’s already established school nurse program that addresses the opioid epidemic. The health system said the program destigmatizes and reframes substance misuse and abuse as medical issues, provides information on resources available for students and community members with substance use issues, and provides a broad range of strategies that nurses can use in addressing opioid-related concerns.

Participants also learn how to prevent, recognize and respond to overdoses, including administering naloxone, the medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose.

More than 400 nurses have attended the program, which as of the close of the school year has been offered to nurses in every school district on Long Island. By the close of 2019, the program will have been made available to nurses in every school district in Northwell’s footprint.

School nurses can register for educational and clinical programs in the 2019-2020 series at NorthwellSchoolNurseSeries.EventBrite.com

They can register for the opioid education program, Recovery, Resilience and Hope, at northwell.edu/SchoolNurseOpioidProgram

New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health, with 69,000 employees, is the largest private employer in the state.

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