UPMC Jameson announces new partnership with Children's Hospital, shares success of nursing school

·5 min read

NEW CASTLE — Celebrating a successful learning program and ease of access for parents taking their children to the emergency room, one local hospital shared its good news on Wednesday as it entered the new year.

UPMC Jameson held its annual public meeting on Tuesday, highlighting some of the successes the hospital has achieved in its nursing school and a new partnership with Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh. As the hospital system continues the fight against COVID-19, officials were happy to share these wins and how their programs are benefitting the local community.

UPMC Jameson Hospital in New Castle
UPMC Jameson Hospital in New Castle

"We are dedicated to continuing to advance and deliver a full spectrum of care across our whole region," said Dr. Beth Piccione, interim president of UPMC Jameson and UPMC Horizon. "As a result of our regional approach, we've elevated the services that we can provide locally. Our incredible teams are delivering clinical excellence with caring kindness and compassion, with every single interaction."

Children's Hospital to begin telemedicine services at UPMC Jameson, concierge service for specialists appointments

During the meeting, UPMC Jameson announced it would be partnering with Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh to provide care closer to home for children in the emergency room.

The new partnership will create a direct line between the emergency rooms, with doctors at Children's Hospital providing telemedicine and consulting. Creating this ease of access will directly benefit parents who may struggle to get to Pittsburgh from their homes in Lawrence County.

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

"Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh had recognized that for their particular hospital, parents were feeling that they had to take their kids to Pittsburgh no matter what the ailment, even for colds or sore throats," Piccione said. "They didn't want to go and take their children to an adult emergency room because they aren't equipped to deal with children."

Young patients' parents will also be able to utilize concierge services while visiting UPMC Jameson, which will allow doctors to schedule appointments with pediatric specialists when they are needed. The service can help parents who aren't familiar with specialists and quickly schedule appointments.

This consultation service with Children's Hospital will not cause any additional costs for patients visiting the emergency room.

Jameson School of Nursing continues to offer opportunities for students

As the hospital adds a new program for children in the emergency room, it is also celebrating the success of the UPMC Jameson School of Nursing and its students' entry into the workforce at a vital time.

The school, which allows students to enroll in Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) and several other nursing certifications and degree programs, currently has 177 students enrolled and learning within the UPMC system. By the end of 2022, 72 of those students will have graduated and will help fill vital roles in the hospitals.

"It offered our students the advantage of taking their courses simultaneously with their nursing courses," Piccione said. "Instead of having to have all those prerequisites and advancements, they were able to take them within the program. That was very attractive to a lot of our students as well."

Bill King of Neshannock gets a Pfizer vaccine from Katherine McKenzie of Mercer, a UPMC Jameson nursing student.
Bill King of Neshannock gets a Pfizer vaccine from Katherine McKenzie of Mercer, a UPMC Jameson nursing student.

The UPMC Jameson School of Nursing also expanded across the hospital system in August, with a new class of 100 students starting the program in UPMC Hamot in Erie. Helping the underserved community, it allows nearby residents to work while learning and pursuing degrees in nursing at a highly reduced cost.

"We have collaborated with the Hemet Health Foundation and Gannon University, but many of the students will attend with little to no debt," said David Gibbons, president of UPMC Hamot. "A lot of the students are employees at Hamot, who are advancing their career. So, it's really it's a great win-win for the Jamison School of Nursing certainly for the Erie Community."

UPMC system continuing the battle against COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, UPMC facilities are still seeing large amounts of patients filling hospital beds due to the virus.

According to Piccione, the UPMC system of hospitals had 867 patients in their care with the coronavirus and 520 patients who were recovering, but still required hospitalization, on Wednesday afternoon. Across the system, 138 of these patients were in the intensive care unit and 94 were on ventilators to assist with breathing.

"We've seen a continuous onslaught of COVID patients, it attacks the young, it attacks the old and frail," Piccione said. "We've seen over the last two years every permutation, so it still continues to be a significant public health crisis."

One of the main causes of these surges of patients is the low rate of vaccinations across communities in Lawrence and Mercer counties. While vaccinated patients are able to recover quicker from their COVID-19 diagnosis, unvaccinated patients are seeing longer recovery times and experiencing more deadly symptoms.

UPMC Jameson pharmacist Ronald Barnes of Sharpsville holds up a vial of the Pfizer vaccine before he puts it in needles for patients at the clinic.
UPMC Jameson pharmacist Ronald Barnes of Sharpsville holds up a vial of the Pfizer vaccine before he puts it in needles for patients at the clinic.

Patients to the emergency room are also seeing the effects of the coronavirus and the increased workload it has on the hospital staff, with wait times becoming increasingly longer. While staff have prioritized the patients most in need of treatment, they are encouraging vaccinations to reduce the number of people in hospital beds and help save lives across the hospital system.

"We're continuing to mask in our hospital and offices to protect our patients and to protect each other," Piccione said. "This is still a very big problem. And hopefully, we'll be able to afford that not being the case in coming months, but for Lawrence and Mercer County it is the No. 1 medical problem for our populations."

Garret Roberts is the local Public Priority reporter for The Beaver County Times. He can be contacted at groberts1@gannett.com and can be followed on Twitter at @ReportedRoberts.

This article originally appeared on Beaver County Times: UPMC Jameson to bring Children's Hospital telehealth to emergency room