School nurse Angela Avradmidis and I connected during the “High Tech to High Touch”#Nursing2030Chat3 hosted by the Future of Nursing 2020-2030. The discussion included the frustration many school nurses face when trying to electronically communicate with parents. Angela had an innovative solution, she uses a technology platform designed for teachers called Remind. I reached out to Angela and asked her to share how she reaches her parents through technology.
This guest blog by Angela Avradmidis, BSN, RN, NCSN is a must read for school nurses who are interested in how to incorporate technology into their health office. Angela also shares her adventures in grant writing and how she learned to “work smarter not harder” by learning from her educator colleagues that technology in the classroom can translate into the health room too! Tech literacy is alive and well in Angela’s office!
Angela Avramidis, BSN, RN, NCSN
I am a firm believer in working smarter, not harder and overcommunicating (not a thing) what is needed in order for my students and staff to be healthy, present, and well. My teaching colleagues’ tech knowledge was far superior than mine when I transitioned to my current position, which had me asking myself, “How can I tweak what teachers are already doing to make it work in the clinic?”
This path initially inspired me to write a funding request to our district’s Parents Club for a mini IPAD and Biofeedback device, to utilize the Inner Balance meditation app for students struggling with frequent anxiety attacks. The Parents Club was a resource teachers already used for technology needs outside their budget. I was pleasantly surprised when the request was granted. Since that time, I have utilized the Parents Club to fund a variety of projects, ranging from Drug Abuse Awareness speakers to CPR training supplies.
After success with the Parents Club, I ventured into creating projects on Donorschoose. Donorschoose is a crowdfunding website used by public school teachers to create fundraising projects for supplies. I wanted to start a CPR Certification Program for my highschoolers, but had no funds for manikins, AED trainers, etc. I created a project on the site entitled, “Creating the Next Generation of Lifesavers”. A local paper caught wind and featured a short article on the project. Subsequently, the request (a set of 4 Little Anne Manikins) was funded, and an anonymous donor sent a 4 pack of Prestan Manikins to the highschool for the program. The local Lions Club saw the article and also wanted to help. They funded 8 AED trainers and 6 infant manikins. Never underestimate your local community’s willingness to help their students. I have since had numerous projects funded through Donorschoose, including one to provide food to my hungry students and another to provide fidget toys and knitting kits for anxious students. With the funding, in addition to a grant from the Blackstone Valley Educational Foundation, I was able to provide the CPR program to students AT NO COST.
This was a roundabout way to get here, but this leads me to the reason Robin asked me to write this post: REMIND. The Remind App is an app that teachers use to communicate with families. Parents are able to sign up with a code for your “classroom” (i.e. the clinic) and choose their preference for communication: email or text (everyone texts). The “teacher” (i.e. Nurse) is then able to initiate and respond to texts from their desktop, device, or personal cell phone. Remind has been certified by iKeepSafe for privacy practices related to COPPA, FERPA, and California Student Privacy. Since communications occur through the app, your cell phone number is never shown, yet you are able to text parents quick reminders, such as “Billy has 7 pills left at school, please drop off a refill at your earliest convenience” or “Susie needs updated orders for the new school year. Please have her specialist fax it to…” or “Dylan had a treatment at 1 pm”. The result? Successful two-way communication in the parent’s preferred method.
Just as teachers consult with us regarding medical issues, I encourage all school nurses to consult with teachers who are strong in their tech game. Think outside the box and tweak what they are already doing in order to fit the needs of the clinic and your students. The opportunities to learn and possibilities to enhance your practice are endless.
Nurse Bio: Mrs. Angela Avramidis, BSN, RN, NCSN is the newly appointed School Nurse Leader for Millbury Public Schools. She is the sole nurse for Millbury Memorial Junior Senior High School, with a population of approximately 740 students. She is also a certified AHA CPR instructor and mother of three. Mrs. A has been a school nurse for 6 years, working in the classroom with severe special needs students during her first 3 years. She worked in both primary and acute care nursing prior to transitioning into school nursing.