SBHC Story: SBHCs Are There for Emergency Care

We received more than 25 submissions from school-based health centers (SBHCs) all over the country for our back-to-school story contest in August! The stories varied from informative to positive to heartfelt. We will continue to share these important stories in the coming weeks and months.

Our latest story comes from South Carolina and touches on the importance of having a highly-trained nurse practitioner in a child’s school. This story highlights the difference SBHCs can make for the long-term health of a child:

Medical University of South CarolinaIt was a typical Monday morning at Sanders-Clyde Creative Arts School. A father brought his daughter’s immunization record to the school nurse to make sure it was up-to-date, and happened to mention the child had been to an urgent care clinic over the weekend. After reviewing the patient education materials the father showed her, the school nurse noticed the diagnosis from the urgent care clinic was a condition not common in children and thought it was odd.

Perplexed and concerned, the school nurse consulted with the KidsWell Nurse Practitioner (NP) and asked that the young student’s health information be reviewed. Thanks to the convenience of school-based health programs like KidsWell, the Nurse Practitioner was right next door to conduct an exam and noticed the child had a very swollen knee and a fever. The NP diagnosed the issue as a septic knee. The original diagnosis was bursitis. They immediately contacted the father and he rushed back to the school and took his daughter to the MUSC Pediatric Emergency Department, as the KidsWell team recommended.

The KidsWell team called the MUSC Peds ED to notify staff that the father and his daughter were on the way to the hospital. The child was admitted for seven days, and her treatment ultimately included surgery and intravenous antibiotics for a bone and joint infection. Since her release from the hospital, the KidsWell team has conducted follow-up visits for her knee at the Sanders-Clyde school-based health center, and she was also referred to specialists at MUSC as needed.

As the child’s treatment continued with the KidsWell team, her providers completed her well-child physical and made other referrals to specialty clinics for separate issues. Today, she’s doing great; her father reports that she is thriving and playing soccer. In addition, the father is now very active in the school and participated in a Family Olympics event with his daughter this past Spring.

Without this access to care, teamwork and coordination, it’s possible this child may have endured a very different health outcome, perhaps even died from this infection. At the Medical University of South Carolina, health care providers are committed to putting patients first, in all endeavors. KidsWell is a school-based health program with pediatric services provided by Medical University of South Carolina and with support from the Charleston Promise Neighborhood (CPN) and Charleston County School District (CCSD). The KidsWell program is one way that our providers are changing what’s possible in how care is delivered for those who need it most.



  1. by Vaneasha Danzy on September 14, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    This was an awesome article to read. It was encouraging as I am a new member of the Children’s Advocacy School Health team at GHS. I am glad that the outcome of this story was a great one and that the parent is involved!

  2. by Keri on September 28, 2015 at 11:54 am

    This is a fantastic story! As a parent, it is reassuring to see how coordinated care such as this, makes all the difference in the quality of care a child receives.

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