The mission of the Virtual Nursing Project is to assist in providing competent, efficient and cost-effective diabetes care to school-aged children, aging adults, and developmentally disabled individuals in settings lacking a full-time nurse.
The overall goal of the Virtual Nursing Project is to assist in providing nursing care to individuals in South Dakota wherever licensed school nurses are not available. This is accomplished by training unlicensed school personnel to administer insulin on site, but under the supervision of a licensed "Virtual Nurse" who will be available for consultations through remote access.
Currently, the South Dakota Diabetes Coalition can assist in proving Virtual Nursing services in the following settings (click to learn more):
Unlicensed Diabetes Aide (UDA)
When a licensed nurse is not available, a Registered Nurse may delegate subcutaneous insulin administration to a South Dakota Board of Nursing (BON) Registered Unlicensed Diabetes Aide (UDA) in accordance with the South Dakota Board of Nursing's Approved Protocol. An RN may only delegate insulin administration when a licensed nurse is not physically present on site to administer the insulin.
The South Dakota Board of Nursing (SD BON) manages UDA registrations. More information about the UDA program and the SD BON can be found by accessing their website by clicking here.
This model was previously piloted, tested and validated in South Dakota public schools in a study titled “Virtual Nursing Care for School Children with Diabetes” (Damgaard & Young, 2014). This study was published in the Dakota Nurse Connections Magazine, and can be read here. The study enrolled 31 children with diabetes type 1 or 2, and ranging in age from 5-18 years, in South Dakota public schools.
The program was conducted over a 2.5 year period (2010 – 2013). Clinical diabetes outcome measures were collected by the virtual nurses and the program was evaluated for safety and effectiveness. Outcomes measured included number of insulin administrations, blood glucose monitoring, carbohydrate counting, activity monitoring and accurate record keeping. The data showed that by implementing the Virtual Nurse Program, registered nurses were able to safely delegate and supervise insulin administration using unlicensed, but trained, school personnel from remote sites.
The following timelines outlines the Virtual Nursing Project:
2008– State bill (HB 1152) was drafted to provide diabetes management and treatment for school children. The bill stated that in the absence of a school nurse, trained diabetes personnel could administer insulin.
2010 – 2013 – The South Dakota Board of Nursing implemented a 3 year exploratory pilot project to obtain data regarding a virtual nursing model.
April 2014 – Recognizing the need for the continuation of Virtual Nursing Services offered through the SD BON pilot, the SDDC formed a task force to develop a Virtual Nursing Program.
Summer 2014 - The Virtual Nursing Task Force worked to develop program guidelines, timeline, and school policies while also coordinating efforts between healthcare organizations in the state.
Fall 2014 - The SDDC, along with the South Dakota Department of Health, Avera Health, Regional Health and Sanford Health applied for a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant to assist in funding the project. Although not awarded, the grant application increase participation from project partners.
Fall 2014 - Spring 2015 - The SDDC worked to tie up loose ends with the project, and began to promote the program to South Dakota schools.
June 2015 - The SDDC received a grant from the South Dakota Area Community Foundation to promote the program in South Dakota.
Summer 2016 - The SDDC and partner organizations worked to create program guidelines and pilot Virtual Nursing with a group home for developmentally disabled individuals.
Fall 2016 - The Virtual Nurse Task Force reconvened to address and work to expand the program to include support for group homes and aging adults.
Winter 2017 - The SDDC worked to create program guidelines and best practices for the Virtual Nursing Program to be introduced for caring for aging adults.