Floyd Provides Health Care Where You Live, Work, Play and Go to School
Posted by Kurt Stuenkel, President and CEO
June 19, 2017
Ask almost anyone if they had a favorite teacher or coach growing up and you’re likely to get a smile and at least one name immediately. Although it has been a while since I was a student in K-12, I still remember some great teachers and great experiences.
We sometimes say at Floyd that our organization delivers health care where people live, work and play. We should add to this, where people go to school. We have been involved for many years with athletic trainers in area schools and colleges. Floyd got the opportunity to assume leadership of the school nurse programs in the Rome City Schools and Floyd County Schools last year, and next year, in the Polk County Schools. We have school nurses in every public elementary school and athletic trainers in every high school in Rome and Floyd County. We also will have school nurses in every public elementary school and athletic trainers in both public high schools in Polk County, and, beginning in 2018, we will have athletic trainers in both high schools in Chattooga County. In addition, our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) serves thousands of students each year through educational programs and by making ambulances available to provide help at home football games. Every one of those touch points provides an opportunity to make a difference in a young boy or girl’s life.
Here are some examples. One of our school nurses helped a family to understand and connect them to the resources they need to help a student manage a chronic disease, and this nurse remains a resource for this family. Just two weeks after donating EpiPens to every public school in Rome and Floyd County, a student with a nut allergy needed that life-saving dose of Adrenalin. A certified athletic trainer (ATC) on the sidelines of a junior varsity football game witnessed a hard tackle and insisted on taking a closer look at the player. His expertise and trained eye led to the discovery of a potentially life-threatening lacerated spleen. A Floyd school nurse, still in her uniform, was at a youth baseball game and came out of the stands to help an injured student athlete. These students and their families had Floyd personnel who were ready and responsive when those students needed them.
Floyd has been taking Little Green, our EMS mascot, to elementary schools for over a decade, teaching students to “play safe.” Little Green has become something of a celebrity, drawing young kids with his blinking eyes, siren sounds and flashing lights. Our EMTs and paramedics also speak at career days and help produce programs for high school students to teach them about the dangers of distracted driving. More than 1,000 local students have heard the heart-wrenching story of one of our own paramedics who tragically lost both his sons in an automobile wreck.
Students, families and teachers are impacted by our daily presence in elementary and middle schools. They are reassured to know that a nurse is available at Alto Park, Anna K. Davie, Armuchee Elementary, Cave Spring, Elm Street, Garden Lakes, Glenwood Primary, Johnson, Main Elementary, McHenry Primary, Model, North Heights, Pepperell Elementary, Pepperell Primary, Rome Middle, West End and West Central to help with flu vaccines, hearing and vision screenings, medication administration, and when they just are not feeling well. Beginning with the upcoming school year, nurses will also be at Cherokee, Eastside, Northside, Van Wert, Westside and Youngs Grove elementary schools as well as Cedartown and Rockmart middle schools. Our Corporate Health staff also provides CPR training to staff and coaches. They have placed automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in each school and are helping train staff how to use them.
Teachers, coaches, students and parents are supported by Floyd athletic trainers (ATC’s) at Armuchee, Cass, Cedartown, Chattooga, Coosa, Darlington, Model, Pepperell, Rockmart, Rome, Trion and Unity high schools, where they assist with preventive care, safety and education and serve as a liaison to specialists and all other medical services. Each spring, Floyd Physical Therapy and Rehab works with the Floyd Family Medicine Residency program, Dr. Michelle Strickland, a Floyd Primary Care physician, and other area physicians to provide for free the physicals area high school athletes are required to pass before they play a Georgia High School Association sport.
Our ATCs help local schools abide by new health regulations for athletes regarding heat, concussion and return-to-play rules. They also keep an AED close to the sidelines as well as coordinate nutrition education for athletes. Floyd ATCs spend approximately 30,000 hours per year serving their respective schools. And, to further the coverage, Floyd EMS stands by at every home football game. That’s more than 40 football games each season, not to mention high school wrestling, cross country and the many other sports area students play.
Thanks to our robust school nurse, ATC, and Emergency Medical Services programs Floyd is providing for the health needs of the young people of our community from the start of school in kindergarten until they graduate high school. And, if they attend either Shorter University or Georgia Highlands College, even into college.
It is Floyd’s mission to be responsive to our community, and through services at the hospitals in Rome and Polk County, and through our physicians, urgent care centers, outpatient services, school nurses, ATC’s, EMS, work based nurses, and corporate health, we provide care where folks live, work, play and where they go to school.