AVON, Ind. – A partnership between a local school corporation and hospital has the two working together. The nurses who work at Avon Community Schools are employed through Hendricks Regional Health.
Before Tracy Teipen became a registered nurse, she wanted to be a teacher. Now it’s the best of both worlds for her at Avon schools.
“I always did pediatrics in the hospital, she shared, “It’s kind of the perfect scenario.”
All 14 of the full-time school nurses and 13 sub-nurses in Avon are registered and employed through Hendricks Regional Health. The partnership gives the nurses, like Teipen, a level of training and knowledge on how to handle everyday illnesses, like a sore throat or fever, to treating a child with chronic illnesses, mental health, and of course, the pandemic.
“Nothing else went on hold when COVID came, for any of us here at the school,” explained Teipen.
“I can’t imagine navigating a pandemic as a school district without this partnership being in place,” said Scott Wyndham, the Superintendent of Avon Community Schools.
For Wyndham, having medical professionals in school, every day has been a huge help while navigating COVID-19 guidance, cases, and quarantines.
“We’re trying to be as responsive as possible to make sure that we can keep school in person and keep school open and our students and staff healthy,” Wyndham added.
The partnership with Hendricks Regional Health reaches further than the school clinic. Some of the nurses volunteer their time on the weekends and during school breaks.
“We have some nurses that their clinical background is OB, so they’ll come work in our NICU or we have some that are cross-training to our higher volume areas since the pandemic,” said Jennifer Foltz, the Director of School Nursing at Hendricks Regional Health, “We can call on anyone at any time and there’s no hesitation to jump in and support our students.”
Creating a bond between the hospital and the school corporation for one purpose.
“We’re all in, we have a relationship with them. They depend on us and we depend on them and we make decisions together,” said Yvonne Culpepper, the Chief Nursing Officer for Hendricks Regional Health.
Teipen added, “We’re trying our best to keep everyone healthy and safe.”
This is the 11th year for the Avon Community School and Hendricks Regional Health partnership.