Nurses help kids at Knoxville student health center

Local News

The Vine School Health Center, which sits next to Vine Middle Magnet School, is a busy pediatric clinic, serving students who have limited access to healthcare.

Run by nurses, it’s a partnership between the University of Tennessee’s College of Nursing and Knox County Schools. The goal is to make a difference in kids’ lives on a variety of levels.

The waiting room is almost always packed at the health center, filling with kids who are suffering anything from tummy trouble to allergies.

Kelle Flynn, a nurse practitioner student, is getting important hands-on experience. She carefully checked a student for a possible ear infection. Just down the hall, a nurse practitioner who’s been on the job for a while helped a boy figure out a rash on his arms.

And in yet another exam room, a boy several miles away at Powell Elementary was being observed for a small rash on his face through the center’s Telehealth program. Powell is one of a handful of schools selected for Telehealth through a special grant.

It turns out the student has a bacterial infection that could be spread to other kids, so after his diagnosis and a treatment plan, he must go home for the day.

For other kids with minor ailments that don’t require them to go home, the health center’s goal is to give them the care they need without having to miss class.

Nan Gaylord oversees the center. She is a professor in UT’s College of Nursing, and a nurse practitioner. She says the center fills a need in our community.

“We had over 4,400 visits last year for physical health, and almost 2,000 for mental health,” Gaylord explained.

The center bills patients for services. In some cases, fees are based on a sliding scale, and last year, staff helped 150 families get health insurance.

The center was set up to be a win for parents and students, and a win for nurses, and nurses in training.

“Next year around this time, I will have my master’s and then one more year of research for my doctorate,” said Flynn.

The center was founded in 1995, but a lot of people don’t know about the College of Nursing connection.

They gladly accept donations. If you’d like to support the Vine School Health Clinic, click here or call (865) 974-3011.

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