(Photo: Taylor Weston gives the “thumbs up” for a program funded by the Bennett and Albert County Healthcare Foundation that allows her to see a nurse practitioner without even leaving the school)
She sees improvements in self-esteem, relationship-building and health behaviours, and believes teens are more aware of the practical actions involved in healthy living.
Anne-Marie’s daughter, Taylor, says she feels comfortable seeing Krista. “I don’t have to go to my mom first. I make appointments on my own. If I am curious about something, I can just go in and ask her about it.”
Anne-Marie notes that this is something a teenager or even an adult might not do with a typical healthcare provider. “This has made my girls more aware of their own health and is teaching them to take responsibility for it,” says Anne-Marie. “This is setting them up for good habits when they are on their own. “
“She is providing a true service to these kids,” says Donna Godfrey. “She has such strong interpersonal and counselling skills. Her care for these students is genuine. We are very lucky to have her.”
By Deborah Carr for the Bennett and Albert County Healthcare Foundation
www.bachfoundation.com / www.deborahcarr.ca
One year later, with funds provided by the Bennett and Albert County Healthcare Foundation, Krista established an office in the high school and began offering primary healthcare to students and staff members at Caledonia High, Middle and Elementary schools. She sees about approximately 260 students a year during her office hours every Monday.
“We brought care to the kids,” says Krista. “I see the kids for a variety of issues, ranging from simple, like prescription renewals, to complex, like mental or sexual health issues.” She also participates in health promotion and illness prevention, and provides consultation or referrals to specialists or other health care disciplines such as physiotherapy, mental health, social work, and nutrition.
CRHS principal, Donna Godfrey, says Krista’s presence has been a huge benefit. “We’ve gained a partnership with Horizon Health Network that enables us to pool our resources and collaborate with outside agencies when our kids are struggling with particular issues.”
Krista’s observations have resulted in actions by the school and the health centre to address such problems as bullying and smoking.
Anne-Marie Weston of Dennis Beach has two high school daughters. “My girls started seeing Krista at the Albert County Health and Wellness Centre, but now, they can make their own appointments without missing school. Plus, Krista is young; she sees and understands what the kids face in school life.”