Northside Elementary’s clinic opens for students

Donations and volunteers help open clinic for students

A local elementary school is now providing a first-in-the area service for its students.

Over the last few days, students at Northside Elementary have begun using “Your Northside Neighborhood Clinic.”

It’s a health care facility located actually inside the school, bringing overall health care and education under one roof.

“I don’t know of another medical clinic that’s inside just for the kids,” said Dr. Ted Thompson of the Neighborhood Family Clinic, who also serves as a medical volunteer for the facility.

The idea to open a clinic in the school came during the planning stages for the new Northside Elementary.

“One of the things that was discussed was what if we could provide a resource area, especially for a clinic,” said Randy Nelson, superintendent of the La Crosse school district. “What if we could have a clinic right there?”

The school was planned with the clinic in mind, which is funded through community donations and medical volunteers.

“We specifically designed with exterior doors, so that we could actually have a clinic running, while the rest of the school isn’t running, and we can shut things down in other parts of the building,” said Nelson.

Treating ailments ranging from the common cold to abdominal pain, a total of four volunteers will be working with patients.

“When a patient comes in, we have one volunteer who helps a patient register, and then we have a volunteer that stays at the computer,” said Thompson. “When they come into this room from the waiting room, we have a nurse and a medical provider in this room.”

While school nurses do many of the same things, a clinic provides unique advantages for these students.

“We can actually treat it here,” said Thompson. “So we’re qualified to see patients, write prescriptions.”

Both the school district and the clinic hope this place will make health and education go hand in hand.

“This is just one more place that the school can provide something that the kids can look at as a good thing,” said Thompson.

“(Children) having a degree of comfort that it’s right here,” said Nelson. “It’s right at school. It’s the hub, for instance, of the neighborhood, is really what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Organizers hope once the clinic is up and running for students at Northside Elementary, it will be expanded to include parents of students, and eventually the entire neighborhood.

The clinic is open for students Tuesday through Thursday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m