Valerie Lamon, the school nurse at Black Fox Elementary School, recently received an award for having conducted 100 telemedicine visits with students over just one semester. “Valerie has been …
Valerie Lamon, the school nurse at Black Fox Elementary School, recently received an award for having conducted 100 telemedicine visits with students over just one semester.
“Valerie has been a huge rockstar for us,” said Tabitha Payne, nurse manager for Bradley County Schools. “Normally, you’d see about 100 telemedicine visits for a whole school year; she had 100 between August and the end of February.”
Telemedicine involves using tools like thermometers and cameras connected to a computer to allow someone to see a doctor offsite. Lamon and several other local school nurses participate in the Children's Telehealth and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile Program, which allows students to see a medical professional affiliated with Children’s Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga.
Payne said telemedicine visits are used to investigate the possibility of acute illnesses like the flu; they are not used for regular check-ups. This means sick children were immediately getting the chance to see a doctor — without ever leaving school.
Parents sign permission forms allowing the school nurse to conduct telemedicine visits. After the doctor sees the child and makes a diagnosis, the school nurse can immediately determine whether the student must go home or can stay at school.
“That way, parents don’t have to take off work,” Payne said. “It really is convenient, and it helps keep our kids in school.”
Lamon, who is in her first year as a school nurse, has also started a HOSA Jr. club to help students learn about healthcare occupations. She said these efforts and her daily school nurse duties keep her “extremely busy.”
“It’s been really good though,” Lamon said. “I have enjoyed helping the students and getting the hang of things like the telemedicine system.”
Eight other schools within the Bradley County Schools district also have telemedicine equipment: Bradley Central High School and the Charleston, Hopewell, Michigan Avenue, Oak Grove, Prospect, Taylor and Valley View elementary schools.
Nurses within the district who do not have telemedicine at their schools can also set up appointments for their students to see a doctor through telemedicine with nurses at other schools.
This program has been made possible by the Bradley Cleveland Public Education Foundation, Erlanger Hospital and United Way of the Ocoee Region.
Payne said she hopes to continue to see parents taking advantage of this service for their children, because district leaders are seeing the benefits. Families of local students can contact their school administrators for more information.
Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE
Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE
We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.
If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.
Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE