Managing Type 1 Diabetes at school is a subject I have written a lot about. It is always a learning experience every week, if not every day for those involved! I know I learn a lot as schedules and activities change.
There are so many things to consider to keep a diabetic child safe at school it can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Diabetes and the School Nurse – Help Them Care For Your Child
There are people you will need to place great trust in when managing your school-aged child’s diabetes and the school nurse is one of the most important. Be sure to foster this relationship and keep communication flowing.
Managing your child’s diabetes at school can be just as difficult for the school nurse to take in as it is for you. After all, the school nurse has hundreds of children to worry about and take care of. It’s important to understand their challenges and sometimes their lack of awareness about diabetes.
Develop a Diabetic Care Plan with the School
There is a lot to think about when you are the bridge between diabetes and the school nurse.
Having a clear Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP) in place is key. Not only does your plan include the medical orders about how to treat your particular child, it is also a document that fosters communication between parent and school nurse about how a child should be cared for.
I say particular child because each diabetic is different and each diabetic should have an individual DMMP. While there are some general guidelines to follow, DMMPs are not a one-size-fits-all.
One of the most important views on this is in a statement from the US National Association of School Nurses.
Managing diabetes at school is most effective when there is a partnership among students, parents, school nurses, health care providers, teachers, counselors, coaches, transportation, food service employees and administrators.
It is the school nurse that provides the health expertise and coordination needed to ensure cooperation from all partners in assisting the student toward self-management of diabetes.
The Role of the School Nurse in Managing Diabetes at School
The school nurse plays a critical role in supporting our children. Things can escalate at school with diabetes and the school nurse will likely be the first to know when something is wrong.
Sometimes there are not enough nurses to support a diabetic child at school, or they may be hesitant to do so as they have never dealt with a Type 1 child before. What should you do?
I never assume the school will have all the answers, so typically my son’s school nurses and I partner to coordinate my son’s care. Sometimes I take the lead and reach out to the teacher, or whoever needs to be reached – other times it is the school nurse.
Like the DMMP, there is no one-size-fits-all template as to how to do this. It is not easy. Ever.
Even with the best school nurses, managing your child’s diabetes at school will still require work. But your relationship with the school nurse is one that is well worth the time and effort that you will never regret investing in.
Does your school nurse help manage your child’s diabetes? How do you help them provide this critical care?