Thorough and efficient documentation with Check In [Client Success Story]
- Name: Kris Sabel
- Title: Middle and Upper School Nurse
- School: Latin School of Chicago
- Location: Chicago, IL
- Type: Pre-K-12 Private, Coed, Day School
- Size: 1,110 students
- Website: latinschool.org
Kris Sabel, RN, BSN, MA, has 22 years of professional nursing experience with a diverse career that includes critical care nursing, college teaching, community health nursing, professional sport team nursing, policy development, and more. Kris entered the world of private school nursing in 2008 and immersed herself in improving the standard of care delivered in schools to align with nursing law and best practice. She earned recognition for her advocacy in passing the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. Kris’ interests include medical policy writing, nursing research, and improving the safety and resources available to LGTBQ students.
Prior to becoming a Magnus Health customer, Kris, like many nurses, documented student visits on paper. The downside to that was that she did not have time to take very thorough notes. It was also nearly impossible to keep the notes private when the health center was busy and she was caring for multiple students at a time. “Thorough and accurate documentation is a huge priority for nurses,” Kris explained, “it is our safety net, should legal instances arise. When a school is sued, it is often related to a medical issue. According to nursing law, no documention means that no interventions were provided.”
When Kris implemented Magnus at the start of the 2011-12 school year, and began using online charts with the Treatment Notes module, she took a big step in the right direction. In just the first year, she was averaging 400 Treatment Notes per month! With the addition of another grade to her case load, which severly limited her time to document, that average dropped to 216 per month the following year. That increase in workload called for even more efficient documentation, so when the Check In module was introduced, Kris was one of the first to jump on board. She approached members of her IT department for a web-enabled device to use for the student check in site. “They had a first generation iPad that was too old to give to a student, so they said I could use it.”
The iPad sits on a stand right next to the door of the health office. Students simply enter their name and choose their Reason for Visit from a dropdown menu. That dropdown menu is made up of note templates that Kris has customized to reflect the most common reasons that students visit her office. She frequently provides treatment for sore throats, fevers, sprains, cuts, allergies (environmental and food), menstrual cramps, problems with braces, and more. And since she’s able to see which OTC medications are approved for each student from their Student Medical Record, she can confidently dispense those meds and document what has been administered.
Using the Check In module and having the pre-built note templates at her finger tips has improved Kris’ overall accuracy and efficiency with regard to documenting student visits. In fact, since she started using Check In, the number of Treatment Notes entered each month has gone up an average of 80%. That’s not to say that she’s working 80% harder, but she’s actually able to document the work that she’s doing! In the month of October alone, there were 321 check-ins recorded and 554 Treatment Notes entered. Kris added, “It’s nice to have a tool to track the number of students I see each day, in addition to the total number of contact hours I spend on nursing care.” Having stats like this allows nurses to make a compelling case to their administration when additional staff or expanded budget is needed.
Typically, nurses don’t have access to data on how their time is spent on a daily basis, nor are they aware how their health centers stack up to those of other private schools. Kris believes that this lack of information is a problem. “Without sufficient data, nurses are missing a critical piece of what they need to lobby for additional resources,” she said. It was for this reason that she was part of the expert panel of nurses that helped Magnus Health develop the first-ever Annual Research Questionnaire of Independent School Health Services. Kris is hopeful that the results of this survey will help independent schools benchmark their own health services departments against others at similar independent schools.
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