Telemedicine combats school nurse shortage in KELOLAND


BRANDON, S.D. (KELO)– Schools across KELOLAND are dealing with a school nurse shortage.

That’s why some schools are turning to telemedicine as a way to fill that role.

Amanda Allison is a school nurse.

But, instead of working in a school she works here at Avera eCare.

“We connect with those students via telemedicine. We are able to see the students and interact just as we would if we were there with them in the office,” Allison said.

“What we do is we bring school nursing services to different school districts throughout North and South Dakota. We have some schools where we are the primary nurse, and other schools where we’re a nurse extender,” Avera eCare School Health director Sheila Freed said.

With school districts seeing a school nurse shortage, Allison says there’s a high need for telemedicine.

“We’re really here for those schools who don’t have school nurses or who are available but need to be in multiple buildings at one time,” Allison said.

One place that’s implementing the Avera eCare program is the Brandon Valley School District. They’re piloting the program at Valley Springs Elementary School.

“With the student growth that we have and the future additional facilities that we have, we wanted to look at potential ways to be innovative and improve our health services to our students,” Brandon Valley School District Superintendent Jarod Larson said.

Avera eCare hopes to help more students stay healthy during the school year.

“Whether you live six miles from the North Dakota border and your closest clinic is 60 miles away, or whether you live in Sioux Falls and the nurse isn’t in the building all the time, you want your student to be safe, and that’s what this program helps to do, is keep all kids safe,” Freed said.

Right now, 36 schools in North and South Dakota are receiving services form Avera eCare.

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