Nurses plan local health center


The NIU School of Nursing wants to alleviate the local health care problem by constructing a health center at Kishwaukee Community College to serve DeKalb.

Bette Chilton and Mary Uscian, instructors in the School of Nursing, have worked as nurses in DeKalb County. They said they believe health care is a major issue that needs to be addressed. The two have spearheaded a project to solve the health care problem and are drawing up a proposal to obtain funds for the construction of the nursing center.

An advisory committee has been formed to determine the center’s compatibility with the community. The committee is composed of administrators from community hospitals, consumers of health care and local physicians.

Chilton and Uscian are expected to submit their proposal between May and July 1993. The reviewing process is expected to take nine months to one year.

The results of an assessment conducted in the area underscored the need for the center. Eleven hundred residents of DeKalb and Ogle Counties were surveyed and 22 percent said they did not have health insurance or Medicaid.

Chilton and Uscian searched for federal funds to back their idea. They then met with the Bureau of Health Professions who reviewed the proposal and determined their eligibility.

“The Bureau of Health Professions, after previewing our needs assessment, felt the need for our academic nursing center had been clearly established,” Chilton said.

The amount needed to build the center was estimated to be a total of $1 million over a period of three years. The center would be staffed by two family nurse practitioners and nursing students.

The clinic would offer care to low-income families and would treat and monitor for common illnesses, such as sore throats and ear infections. The emphasis would be placed on preventative services.

Low-income families serviced by the center would be charged according to sliding-scale fees. The center would not refuse treatment to anyone unable to pay for it.

“The center is advantageous because it would serve as a site for nursing students to practice,” Chilton said. “The other reason is that it would help meet common health needs for primary care services for populations, such as low-income families and Hispanics, who may be uninsured.”

Kishwaukee Community College was chosen partially for the project because it lies in a rural community in which small business owners and farmers are confronted with the problem of providing their own health care. The project also would give NIU the opportunity to test a differentiated model of practic because the college has an associate degree program.

“People who give grants and funding are always looking for something new,” Chilton said.