Case Study

Making Life Easier for One Nurse at a Small School

Why Meghan Benson, the school nurse at St. Pius X Regional School, brought Frontline School Health Management with her when she moved from a large district to a small school.

St. Pius X Regional School Hero Image

District Background

Meghan Benson is the school nurse at St. Pius X Regional School, a private Catholic school just outside of Washington, D.C. St. Pius X (SPX) serves more students than any other in the archdiocese, but it’s still a few orders of magnitude smaller than the district Meghan worked in before, one of the largest school districts in Maryland.

In that district, Meghan used Frontline School Health Management’s Electronic Health Records (EHR) system. But when she arrived at SPX in 2017, she stepped into a pen-and-paper world once again. When students would visit the nurse’s office, she had to dig through a file cabinet to find the correct record. Taking notes and documenting care were equally cumbersome. Meghan approached her principal and asked to bring Frontline School Health Management into SPX as well.

“Even though it’s just my little school, I was like, ‘I need this program,’ because it makes your life 10 times easier as a nurse.”

Faster Access to Health Records

Meghan’s days will look familiar to anyone who has worked in a school health office: providing medications to students who need them, caring for students who have physical challenges, taking care of kids who become ill or get injured, documenting immunizations, keeping records, and the list goes on. She tracks nearly everything in Frontline School Health Management. “I’m using the program all day long.”

In the past, paper records would sometimes get misplaced. Now, students’ health records are digital, secure, and easy to access. “It’s like my right-hand person at work. I’m all by myself, so it’s like my extra brain at work. It really, truly is. It tracks all the kids and what I do in a day.”

When a student comes into her office, Meghan types in the child’s name and pulls up their file and can instantly see their medications, immunization records, medical alerts, medical history, and more. She can quickly document the visit and any care provided.

Meghan Benson Photo

“Even though it’s just my little school, I was like, ‘I need this program,’ because it makes your life 10 times easier as a nurse.”

Meghan Benson
– School Nurse

A Tool Substitute Nurses Can Use

Meghan also trains substitute nurses to use the system, giving a quick orientation of the most common functionality. “It’s pretty self-explanatory,” she says. Substitute nurses use it to manage their to-do lists such as distributing medication and to chart office visits. The fact that most students have photos attached to their file helps to ensure accuracy. “They’re able to double check that it’s the right kid. And they’re able to see a snapshot of what allergies they have or medical concerns.”

Easy Compliance

Regulatory compliance is crucial in any kind of health care. The state of Maryland requires schools to keep students’ health records until they turn 21. Rather than keeping hard copies in boxes or file cabinets, Frontline School Health Management makes it easy to maintain those records.

The system also helps Meghan handle immunization compliance. At the beginning of each year, she runs a report to show who is delinquent in getting their shots. When the health department asks to see her records, it’s an easy ask. “If the health department were to come and check on shots, all the people that they want me to pull, I can print all of these kids, the whole seventh grade and just push print.”

Some students need to receive additional shots as they reach certain grades. “In May I will pull a report for all the kids going into kindergarten and then going into seventh grade. I can pull the report in minutes, and then quickly fire off emails. It prints off what shots they owe.” In the past, that would have taken much longer. “If I had to go pull every seventh grader and review all of their shots and go down the columns, it would probably take an entire day.”

“I can pull the report in minutes, and then quickly fire off emails… if I had to go pull every seventh grader and review all of their shots and go down the columns, it would probably take an entire day.”

Meghan Benson
– School Nurse

Putting Data to Work

Meghan says the access to data she has with Frontline School Health Management is invaluable. “My principal loves the data that I can share from it, and basically show people why we have a school nurse.”

At the end of each school year, she runs a report with a summary of the students she worked with. “I’m able to pull how many kids came into my office. How many kids had medicine? How many visits were headache related? How many visits were stomachache related? How many kids came from the fourth grade? How many were boys? How many were girls?” She also uses it to show how she’s helping to further the educational work of the school. “It even goes into detail of how many kids were sent home versus how many were sent back to class. Which shows I’m doing my job if most of the children go back to class. Ideally, my job is to keep kids in school.”

Each quarter, Meghan gives each teacher a list of students who come to the nurse’s office most frequently. “It’s really eye-opening for the teachers. They’re like, ‘Oh, I sent him to the nurse a lot.’” This also helps her communicate with parents to try to understand what might be going on with students who come to her office often. “If it becomes a pattern — you know, three times a week they come in with stomachache — you’re figuring out, ‘Okay, what’s going on?’ And it helps you start that conversation.”

Better Care for Students

Meghan says that ultimately, Frontline School Health Management helps her provide better care to students. Not only does she have quick access to each student’s health records, but it helps her keep more thorough documentation. “I’m able to really write an in-depth note. If I was just writing on a small line their name and the time they came in, it would be a little note like ‘headache, water, back to class.’ But instead, I’m able to say, ‘He walked in, he was upset, his head hurt, he forgot to eat.’ Little things that you’re not able to do if you’re trying just to keep bare minimum notes.”

“It’s like my extra brain at work.”

Meghan Benson
– School Nurse