Health Services in Day-Care Centers: A Public Health Nursing Design


Address correspondence to: Margaret Schmelzer, R.N., M.S.P.H., Director of Public Health Nursing, Madison Department of Public Health, 210 Monona Avenue, Room 507, Madison, WI 53710. Telephone (608) 266–4821.


Recognizing national and local needs, a public health nursing service model for children enrolled in licensed full day-care centers in the city of Madison was developed by the Madison Department of Public Health and funded from the state maternal and child health/prevention block grants for fiscal year 1982–1983. The department was awarded continuation funding at the same level through December 31, 1984. The public health nurse is an essential provider in this model, working directly and indirectly with children, parents, teachers, and key community professionals. The nurse identifies problems early and promotes significant and timely health education, thereby facilitating the improvement of emotional, physical, and social potentials for children and their families. The goals for the educational and service programs were aimed at fostering positive health behaviors, providing early health screening and problem management, and improving knowledge about safety measures in the day-care population. Programs and services were developed based on the assessed health and health education needs of approximately 1500 children through a needs-assessment tool administered to parents and day-care staff. The goals of the grant were furthere enhanced through the innovative use of videotaping as an educational tool.