Provided by STHS Children’s hospitalists and physicians who work closely with the facility, the half-day training seminar focused on health issues affecting Valley children  

School nurses play an essential role in our children’s’ lives, especially in low-income communities where parents may not have easy access to healthcare. In many instances, school nurses are the first to identify illnesses through routine health exams. Beyond providing direct care to students, they also help provide important health-related instruction to parents and staff. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) says school nurses have become our nation’s “hidden healthcare system,” offering life-saving care and prevention education. To provide the 70+ school nurses who serve the 32,000 students who attend PSJA ISD schools with the latest education available on health concerns affecting children in the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas Health System hosted a half-day continuing education symposium at STHS Edinburg on Thursday, August 18.
With science in the medical field constantly evolving, participants listened to presentations from STHS Children’s hospitalists and physicians who work closely with pediatric patients get the most up-to-date training on topics ranging from orthopedics and gastroenterology to cardiology and sepsis, including treatment protocols in emergency situations.

“It’s extremely important that our staff receive proper guidance from a prominent healthcare system like South Texas Health System. Along with helping us better identify health issues in our students, they are showing us how to best approach emergencies as they arise,” says Sulema Solis, Director of Health Services, PSJA ISD. “We are truly grateful to South Texas Health System for not only providing these important trainings, but for giving us an opportunity to connect with the great physicians who serve STHS Children’s. We will now be able to reach out to the facility and their staff to quickly provide healthcare services to our students.”
A student’s ability to learn is linked directly to their health, and school nurses provide acute and emergency care, treat and assess behavioral health concerns, and connect students and their families with healthcare providers and community resources. With the training provided by STHS Children’s hospitalists Dr. Emily Ummer and Dr. Nicholas Pereira, as well as pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Lago, the school nurses are now better equipped to provide high-quality care to students.
“It’s all about providing appropriate care and giving these school nurses the necessary tools to properly care for their students. Do they need evaluation in an emergency room, can they be better evaluated by a general pediatrician or a pediatric specialist, or are they are stable enough to go back to class? Ultimately, we’re helping them to properly triage,” explains Ummer, a pediatrician who specializes in internal medicine.

Following the symposium, the PSJA ISD nurses had a chance to tour the new patient tower at STHS Edinburg, including the facility’s enhanced emergency department, advanced imaging center and upgraded intensive care unit (ICU).