UT students are helping to bring health to the Knox County School System.
Located in the Vine Middle Magnet School in Knoxville, the Vine School Health Center is a healthcare clinic operating in conjunction with the University of Tennessee's College of Nursing and the Knox County School System.
Although the clinic's broader goal is to improve the overall health and wellness of Knox County School children, its current mission is to serve students with limited access to health care.
For the last six years, more than 1,000 students per year have visited the health center, 90 percent of which were classified as undeserved.
Last year, 2,306 patients visited the healthcare clinic to access services such as physical examinations, minor acute illness care, health education and hospital care.
Although the UT College of Nursing has helped run this clinic since 1996, associate professor Nan Gaylord is currently the administrator and one of the nurse practitioner providers.
"The Vine Health Care Center provides a service to our community while at the same time providing a clinical site for undergraduate and graduate students in nursing," Gaylord said.
Many see the clinic as a way for nursing students to get hands-on career experience.
Jo Barnes, a senior in nursing and a member of the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program at UT, works for the center.
"I work closely with the nurse practitioners who run the clinic in order to provide comprehensive advanced nursing care to our patients," Barnes said.
Amanda Blayne, a senior in nursing, also serves as another pediatric nurse practitioner at the clinic.
"I am able to perform screening, diagnosis, physical exams, vaccines and testing as needed and as appropriate," Blayne said. "I collaborate with the NP on site for each patient, and together we come up with a treatment plan or provide needed health promotion."
Despite providing consistent care for several years, changes are coming to the Vine School Health Center.
Social work and education students will soon be added to the staff in order to enhance educational efforts.
Telehealth, which allows a nurse practitioner to examine and treat ill students using remote technology, has also been developed.
Such progressive measures set the clinic apart from typical health care providers.
"My favorite part about the clinic is how unique it is," Barnes said. "Knowing that we can provide quality health care for local children in need is extremely rewarding and satisfying."