Lanier clinic, School of Nursing win 2021 Governor’s Awards
Published on Monday, August 9, 2021
By: Annie Oeth, email@example.com
Tests for strep and help for anxiety. Reproductive health and clean clothes. The Lanier Teen Wellness Clinic operated by the School of Nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center provides these and a myriad of other services to Lanier High students and the surrounding community.
On Friday, the school-based clinic and the School of Nursing received 2021 Governor’s Awards through the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education, honoring the care provided at Lanier since the clinic’s 2015 opening.
“It’s so much more than a clinic,” said Dr. Anne Norwood, associate dean for practice and partnerships in the School of Nursing. Prior to serving in this role for the past two years, she was the director of the Acute/Primary Care Pediatric and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner tracks at the SON and taught in the graduate programs. In addition, overseeing the clinics at Lanier as well as at Johnson and Galloway Elementary schools had been part of her earlier role.
“The Lanier Clinic is a place where we as nurses take care of patients holistically,” Norwood said.
The clinic is managed by nurse practitioner Dr. Kayla Carr, an associate professor in the School of Nursing, and is staffed by family nurse practitioners LaDaryl Watkins and Valerie Morgan, medical assistant Jessica Morgan and patient services coordinator Cheryl Jones. Dr. Shannon Pittman, Dr. J. Anthony Cloy, Dr. Roberto Santos and Dr. Janet Ricks are collaborating physicians for the nurse practitioners.
Lanier High is a familiar place for Carr, who cared for students at the clinic while she was working toward her Ph.D. in nursing.
School-based clinics, she said, “were where I said nursing is right for me.”
Overseeing the clinic is a “joy in life,” she said, “because now I can empower nurses and nursing students to see what I’ve seen here.”
Lanier Principal Dr. Valery Bradley sees the care provided at the clinic as essential to having students who are ready to learn.
“I call it ‘Right There Health Care,’” Bradley said. “Unfortunately, we live in a community where health care is not as accessible.”
A parent can sign a consent form to allow their child to receive care at the Lanier clinic while at school.
“It’s accessible and flexible,” Bradley said of the care. “The clinic meets our students where they are.”
With classes starting today at Jackson Public Schools, the clinic will be available to students having flu-like symptoms. Tests for strep throat and flu will be available. Any students suspected of having COVID-19 will be quarantined and referred for COVID-19 testing.
Wellness visits and sports physicals – a must during the school year – are available at the clinic, and other clinics, such as dermatology and pediatric weight and wellness, are anticipated.
Behavioral care is offered along with health care. “Each visit starts with screening questions for anxiety and depression,” Carr said. A social worker is on site to offer counseling.
Having clean clothes for school can be a challenge for some, so there’s a washer and dryer available for students and their parents to use.
Sometimes students stop by the clinic “for no other reason than to say hello,” Watkins said. “They may want to talk about basketball games or graduation, and we’re happy to see them and encourage them.”
The School of Nursing is reaching out to the surrounding community as well. On Sunday, the clinic staff and volunteers distributed face masks and bottles of hand sanitizer that were donated by nursing students and faculty to families.
Hazel Shields, a member of the Lanier High School National Alumni Association, said the group and the high school “believes in taking care of folks. We want to take care of our students in every way, from the brain to every part.”
Dr. Julie Sanford, dean of the School of Nursing, applauded the award as well as the care provided at the Lanier Teen Wellness Clinic.
“We are so proud of the holistic care that’s being provided at the Lanier Teen Wellness Clinic,” Sanford said. “Our nurses are living up to the values of our calling.”