Growing up watching her mother, a school nurse, attend to students and provide health care at local schools, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing Assistant Professor Lori Anderson said she immediately loved the profession and the interaction with kids. So it’s hardly surprising that Anderson went on to nursing school and became a school nurse herself.
Many years and a few degrees later, Professor Anderson has melded her on-the-job nursing experience with her research and entrepreneurial skills to develop eSchoolCare, a new online resource being commercially tested for school nurses who treat children with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, severe allergy, cancer and mental health disorders. School nurses can use eSchoolCare on their iPads or laptops to help diagnose and respond to a variety of issues, some of which require rapid, life-saving information that they might not normally have at hand. Nearly 20 percent of all K-12 students in the United States come to school with chronic conditions.
“My hope for the eSchoolCare project is that we can sustain and expand it so that e can support more school nurses to be current, confident and connected in their practice. The ultimate goal is improving the health and educational outcomes of children so that they can be healthy, in school and learning.”
Lori Anderson, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor, UW-Madison
School of Nursing
eSchoolCare would not have been possible without the initial private support from Mary “Penny” Enroth and the Palmer Foundation, and Robert and Carol Heidemann. Their funding helped Anderson secure a three-year $815,000 federal grant from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Nursing. To date, eSchoolCare has been tested by 96 school nurses in 67 school districts, in 14 mainly rural counties in southcentral Wisconsin. By the end of the term of the grant, Anderson projects that eSchoolCare will have been used to help approximately 34,000 children with chronic health conditions.
Partnering with the Wisconsin Center for Education Products and Services (WCEPS), Anderson and the School of Nursing have made eSchoolCare available to a national audience at eschoolcare.org. WCEPS is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization created to extend the impact of the university’s educational innovations by developing and distributing the programs.