Providing ‘Health Safety Nets’ For Chicago Students

By Marilyn Wideman

For 20 years, the Rush University College of Nursing has provided health care to the Chicago community through nurse-managed community-based health centers. A hallmark of these health centers is providing care where individuals live, learn and work. The Rush School-Based Health Centers are a prime example of delivering accessible health care where individuals learn.

The College of Nursing has administered a School-Based Health Center at Crane and Orr High Schools for more than 16 years and at Simpson Academy for two years. Crane and Orr have students in grades nine through 12 and Simpson Academy is for girls in grades six through 12 who are pregnant, parenting or both. All three are public schools, have student bodies from underserved populations and are located in neighborhoods with high poverty levels.

The Rush School Based-Health Centers are health safety nets for these vulnerable students. The clinicians provide care by involving teachers, providing health outreach programs within classrooms, cafeterias and hallways, and providing comprehensive care in the school clinics. Clinical services are provided by advanced practice registered nurses, physicians and large numbers of Rush’s interprofessional students. The services include physicals, immunizations, treatment of injuries, intermittent care, mental health services, prenatal care and health care for the children of the students.

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