Protecting your nursing license, from a military academy perspective [Client Success Story]
- Name: Trent Inman
- Job Title: Registered Nurse
- School: Oak Ridge Military Academy
- Location: Oak Ridge, NC
- Type: Grades 7-12 Private, Co-ed military academy
- Size: 90 students
- Website: oakridgemilitary.com
When Trent Inman first joined Oak Ridge Military Academy, he was stepping into the unknown. He didn’t have a military background, instead, he’d come from a cardio surgery step-down unit in a hospital. He went from treating very sick patients to treating cadets with ordinary illnesses to injuries incurred because of physical training. “It was different for me because the cadets would get in trouble for something, and their discipline was to do extra PT, and then they’d come to me because they’d have huge blisters and other injuries, and that type of approach was creating more work for me.”
But, it didn’t take long for Trent to understand and appreciate the military approach. “I love the structure of the military environment. It teaches the cadets so much discipline, and they have to work for ranks, and it creates an environment conducive to productivity and growth. And from that perspective, you can see the growth of each cadet and that’s really rewarding. From the nursing side, the military academy doesn’t come without its challenges, but the positive side is worth it,” Inman said.
The environment wasn’t the only challenge Inman faced when he arrived on campus – in the health center, everything was handwritten. That is, until Magnus entered the picture. “Magnus has saved my life. It has made my life so easy. My medication administrations are so easy, just a couple clicks of a button and I’m done. It has just saved so much time in my life that I have time to practice nursing and not spend so much time doing documentation,” Inman said.
And Inman isn’t the only one appreciating the ease of use. In an effort to give back to the nursing community, Inman reached out to the local nursing school at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) and began a preceptorship program at Oak Ridge Military. As a result, nursing students are rotating in and out of the health center. “I expose them to Magnus so they know it exists, in case they become school nurses too. They need to know it’s out there and have knowledge of it. Just the other day, I sat with a nursing student and allowed her to enter a medication and she said it was just so easy to use,” Inman explained.
In addition to taking future nurses under his wing, Inman takes on a parental role for the Oak Ridge cadets. He lives on campus and when a cadet is sick in the middle of the night, Inman is up with them. When a student needs to see a doctor, dentist, or any type of healthcare provider, Inman takes them to their appointment. That type of relationship comes with great rewards – being able to learn a cadet’s strengths, weaknesses, and witness first hand their growth into adults. It also means that because Inman is in a non-hospital or physician’s office environment, he takes extra steps to ensure he, his nursing license, and the school are protected. Inman narrowed those efforts down to five key items:
- Partner with a local physician or health department.
“I have standing orders from a local physician for treating all the specific issues, like stomach ache, headache, and so on, so I can practice a little more independently. That physician’s office is where I take most cadets for acute care, and he serves the academy like a medical director. For a boarding school, working with a local physcian or health department works so you’re using protocols and aren’t making decisions solely on your own. I think it’s a best practice to follow.”
Comply with HIPAA and FERPA (even if they don’t apply).
“Legally, we don’t fall under HIPAA or FERPA because we don’t receive any federal funding, but it’s a best practice to follow those anyway to protect ourselves, that’s why we went to Magnus for documentation. It’s much better than paper. I follow those guidelines as if I were at a public school, and the same with immunization rules, so we’re compliant with regulations even though they don’t apply to our school.”
“I keep all the medications here in the health center, and I have a counselor or other faculty member help me maintain and count them so there’s accountability. I’ll do the same if there’s an assessment that shouldn’t be done alone. I’ll ask a counselor to present if it’s not a basic temp or blood pressure check. So I protect myself in both of those ways because, while we’re here to make sure the cadet is healthy, I have to be in a safe place too. We have a full wellness center now so it’s easy for me to collaborate closely with the other staff on the wellness of the cadet as a whole person.”
Consider going off-site for immunizations and shots.
“I don’t provide immunizations here. We used to function in that level and we don’t any more because of anaphylactic shock. You can give a student a shot many times and then they’ll have a reaction. You just never know what’s going to happen. I prefer to have them in an office where there is a physician in case there is an adverse reaction, so I choose to take them off campus for those things to cover my license. I am currently in graduate school to be a nurse practitioner, with the goal of having a full functioning clinic so we won’t have to take the students off campus so often. That’s the goal, and we’d be the first of our kind with a full functioning medical center with counseling.”
Document and communicate.
“As a boarding school, we have documentation that we have full legal custody of the cadets when they’re with us, so when I treat them or take them to the doctor, I make those decisions. I of course reach out to let parents know, but I make those decisions for their care, and I have the documentation to support me in those decisions. I do make certain to keep those lines of communication with parents open so that everyone is on the same page.”
Join us this summer at the Independent School Health Conference to hear other client success stories and learn how other nurses work at their schools!