Technology and nurses combine to help rural schools in North Dakota

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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Mid Dakota Education Cooperative and the North Dakota Department of Health are using technology to help schools in North Dakota get the health care they need.

With the click of a button, your sick child can meet with a registered nurse at their school.

“It is so nice to have the opportunity to bring school nurses into our schools that have never had the opportunity to work with a school nurse," said Liz Tofteland, nurse.

Nurses in Sioux Falls, S.D. answer a video call connected to medical attachments called peripherals.

"The North Dakota E-Care School Health Program allows school districts from around the state to access registered nurses through live audio-video technology," said Lyndsi Engstrom, program director of MDEC.

The nurse on the other side receives physical markers to give a recommendation.

"Whether they should stay in school, whether they should go home, or maybe they should be seen by a doctor," said Tofteland.

"Allow us to listen to kids lungs, to look in their ears, look at their throats, look at rashes, things you typically see in school," said Sheila, nurse in Sioux Falls.

Engstrom says this technology helps, especially when a school budget can't afford to hire a nurse.

“It’s not something that's readily available in most districts, so what this program does is provide access to school nursing services," said Engstrom.

Sarah Massey with the North Dakota Department of Health says hopefully this technology will prevent parents in rural areas from leaving work and driving far to pick up their child when they may not even be sick.

Engstrom says this program may currently focus on rural and under-served schools, but it is available to any school in North Dakota.