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Monthly Board Report - November 2000
RDHS Health Clinic: Pilot Project Considered an Overwhelming Success
Submitted by Shani Gates, MHSc, Planning & Evaluation Consultant
In February 2000 the Rideau District High School (RDHS) Health Clinic was formally launched as a six-month pilot project. The Clinic is a new venture resulting from a partnership between the Health Unit, the Country Roads Community Health Centre (CHC) and the Rideau District High School (RDHS). The Clinic goal is to offer students easy access to a full range of health services, as well as to increase the number of students engaging in health enhancing behaviours. Primary health care services are provided to students at the school by Nurse Practitioners from the Health Unit and the Country Roads CHC. An evaluation plan was developed in order to examine the implementation of the RDHS Health Clinic pilot and the formative partnership between the three organizations. The following methods were utilized in order to gather evaluation information: questionnaires with all RDHS students, teachers, and parents on the Advisory Council; interviews with key stakeholders from the 3 partner agencies; and tracking forms to monitor Clinic activities.
The results of the evaluation show the Clinic to be a great success. Thirty-four RDHS students made a total of 107 visits to clinic. The vast majority of students using the Clinic were female and the average age of clients was 15.5 years. Birth control counselling, mental health and STD's were the most frequent reasons for client visits. Clinic clients were highly satisfied with the Clinic location, hours of operation, appointment booking procedure and amount of privacy offered. All seven parents and twelve teachers surveyed reported satisfaction with the clinic, as did all of the partners interviewed.
The evaluation did reveal areas of improvement for Clinic operations. Both students and Clinic staff identified the need for expanded Clinic hours, perhaps offered on a day of the week other than Monday. Students who did not use the clinic were somewhat less satisfied with various aspects of the clinic and had some concerns regarding privacy and confidentiality. Steps have been taken by the Implementation Team to address the issues raised in the evaluation. For example, a private nurse practitioner has agreed to join the partnership, enabling the expansion of clinic hours into a different day of the week.
Providing Clinic services in a school setting, through a partnership, clearly presents many advantages. Access to services to adolescents is improved and students do not have to miss much school in order to meet their needs. Nurse Practitioners are able to provide the whole range of services, not just sexual health, which is less threatening because students can attend for any reason. The partnership offers students access to services beyond the mandate and resources of one agency. The RDHS Health Clinic pilot was highly successful and could be used as a model for other communities throughout the province facing similar needs and challenges.