(CHICAGO) — The school-based health center at the Chicago Public Schools' Simpson Academy for Young Women, a school for pregnant women and young mothers, received an International Connecting Nurses Care Challenge Award for its innovation in addressing health care issues of pregnant and parenting youth. The center is operated by faculty and staff from Rush University's College of Nursing.
Rush is one of 10 winners in the Helping Hands category and one of only two organizations from the U.S. to be honored by Connecting Nurses, which is an affiliate of the International Council of Nurses and the Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation. The award was announced in May in Geneva, Switzerland, at the World Congress of Francophone Nurses.
"This is an outstanding achievement for a health center that has been established for a short period of time," said Marilyn Wideman, DNP, RN, associate dean of faculty practice and community engagement at Rush University. "This is well-deserved for the practitioners, clinic staff and students at Rush who work and volunteer at the Simpson Academy."
The health clinic at the Simpson Academy, which opened in fall 2011, is one of three school-based health centers at Chicago Public Schools that is run by Rush College of Nursing.
The Simpson Academy, located at 1321 S. Paulina in Chicago, is a small school serving grades six to 12 that accepts students from throughout Chicago. Nurse practitioners from the Rush College of Nursing and students from Rush’s Colleges of Nursing and Medicine provide on-site health and educational services. They also provide services for infants at a daycare center at the school, which is expected to be up and running in November. The aim is to help mothers and expecting mothers remain focused on schoolwork.
The health services at the clinic encompass primary care, prenatal care, school and sports physicals and contraceptive services. There is also a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner to provide one-on-one and group sessions with students. A family nurse provides infants with well-child care, urgent care and immunizations, among other services.
In addition, the clinic has an educational component. There are times set aside once a week during the school day when Simpson Academy students can take part in programs such as prenatal classes for pregnant students and parenting support classes for the mothers.
Having a clinic on-site allows students to keep their focus on education.
The Rush College of Nursing also operates school-based health centers through CPS at Richard T. Crane Technical Preparatory Common School and at Rezin Orr Community Academy High School. As part of the comprehensive health care services available at these sites, the centers offer family planning and education programs. During fiscal year 2011, nurses and students from Rush provided services during 2,168 clinic visits at Crane, more than 1,000 visits at Orr and more than 500 at Simpson.