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RE: [IP] Feeling Unclean/ Problems with Glucometers in the classromm

> I hope the nurse really is a nurse too - unfortunately many "school
>nurses" are behind on their studies (haven't kept up) and in some areas
>aren't actually nurses at all 
>Rev. Randall Winchester

Ok, I know we have had discussions like this before, but I just had to put
my two cents in here.  The education requirement for a "school nurse" varies
considerably from state to state.  When I was 15 (23 now), my parents moved
from Michigan to New Jersey.  The school I went to in Michigan had no school
nurse at all, and at the time I left they had no plans to add one.  When I
was in grade school my teachers looked after me and when I had a low the
teacher would walk me to the Principals office and I would suck a juice box
while the secretary looked after me.  It wasn't that I was being sent away
because the teacher didn't want to deal with me, it was the fact that this
was the location where my supplies were stored and she wanted me to get to
them right away.  She also realized that she needed to go on with her lesson
and wouldn't be able to give me the attention I needed.  Most of the time I
treated my lows with lifesavers at my desk, but when I had worse lows this
is what she would do.  This was only 10-15 years ago and it was still the
days where a teacher could assign one child in the class "to be incharge"
and not be accused of abandoning them.  Also the days when the children
actually would behave if left alone for a short periods of time.  The days
when it rained outside and recess was cancelled, where mature 6th graders
were sent to the younger grades to supervise while the teacher got to have
their lunch break.  I am not saying that this could happen today, just that
school nurses aren't everywhere.

To tell you a comparison, when I was 15 my parents moved to New Jersey where
school nurses were in every school the entire school day.  I know it was a
law in my school district, but my understanding was that this was
state-wide.  The school nurses had to have special certification that
involved special courses in psychology, and medicine up and above a standard
nursing certificate.  My mother when we moved was a full-time RN at the
Hospital and had 20 years of experience.  She had been a public health nurse
and then moved onto being an RN on the psychiatric floor at the area
hospital.  She had taken care of countless children and adults with problems
ranging from malnutrition from poverty to eating disorders to broken bones
over the years between her jobs and life at home.  She had quit her job for
a few years after I was diagnosed to keep a closer eye on me.  She was the
most qualified person you could imagine as a school nurse. Includeing that
fact that she has a wonderful attitude and biggest heart.  But when we moved
she was told at the area hospital that she would have to start over doing
night shifts.  And although my mom loved being an RN she knew that us kids
and my father couldn't live with her doing night shifts and never seeing
her.  So she noticed that there was an opening for a school nurse and
applied for it.  They told her she didn't have the proper qualifications for
the state and thus couldn't be hired for the position.  My mom felt very
rejected from this since she really felt that she could do a great job in
this position.  A year later the school system contacted her and told her
that they had a shortage of school nurses and that they had found a loop
hole in their policy.  Basically they could hire two part-time nurses to do
the job instead of one full-time and that would not be against their policy.
So my mom accepted the job even though she was still feeling like a reject
from the school system.  She went through rigorous drug testing and
physicals that would make most women blush to think about and was approved
to do the job.  Because of my moms experience they placed her in one of the
elementary schools.  The schools were done in a magnet fashion and she was
placed in the school basically labeled for "problem kids".  The whole system
was planned poorly and kids labeled early for behavioral problems, attention
disorders, etc were shoveled off into this school.  My mom was deeply upset
at the fashion in which the schools were set up but was a true believer that
she could make a difference.  After working there for one school year
everyone was very sad that she had to leave. (they were moving again).
However, during the one school year that she had worked there she had sent 4
children to the hospital with broken bones over recess, had helped 7
epileptic children during grand mal seizures, had put on countless bandaids,
given countless calls to parents about their children being sick, had
recognized symptoms of ADD and Turets in several of the children and had
contacted their parents to suggest seeing a doctor about their childs
symptoms, and made a difference in a lot of peoples lives.  Some of the
parents in the school gave her a party when she left.  Only after being
there one year.  But the thing that made me most proud of my mother was the
following day in her life as a school nurse:

My mother was finishing up her morning at the school when the nurse she
shared the day with showed up for her afternoon shift.  She was telling the
other nurse what had happened over the morning, when the phone rang.  One of
the teachers who was on a field trip was calling to say that one of her
students was acting strange and she wanted to know what to do.  The other
nurse had answered the phone so my mom was standing there wondering what was
going on.  The nursed checked the students file and told the teacher that
the child was diabetic and probably was having an insulin reaction.  My mom
after hearing this told the other nurse that her daughter(me) was diabetic
and that she could probably help the teacher to treat the child and thus was
handed the phone.  My mom explained to the teacher that the child needed
some form of sugar.  The teacher argued back that if the child was diabetic
she shouldn't have sugar and the parents had told her not to give the child
sugar so she wouldn't. The child must be having some other problem.  My mom
asked the teacher if the child had her testing stuff with her and if
possible could she check her blood sugar.  The teacher told my mom that the
girl had wanted to bring it with her but that she had told her she wasn't
allowed to bring medicine with her and made her leave it behind.  My mom at
this point is steamed at the teacher (obviously).  She remembered the girl
coming to the office to take her lunchtime shots.  Although my mom wasn't
giving her the shots, she was helping the girl to figure out how much
insulin to take at lunch. She also remembered the same friend walking her
over every day and asked the teacher to put the friend on the phone.  Of
course this took some coaxing but eventually my mom got the teacher to put
the friend on the phone.  The friend said that because the girl hadn't been
allowed to bring her insulin she couldn't give herself her lunch shot, so
she skipped lunch.  My mom asked the friend if the girl still had the lunch
she skipped with her.  The friend said yes that she still had it and had
actually she put it in her back pack to carry it for her.  My mom asked her
to open the lunch and tell her what was inside.  The girl said that the
lunch contained a juicebox with a sticker that said for emergencies,(fitting
huh?, a note saying how much insulin to take, a sandwich, chips, and a diet
soda.  My mom told her make the girl drink her juice box and put the teacher
back on the phone.  When the teacher came back on the phone my mother
demanded to know where they were and to tell her that she shouldn't let the
girl move until she was acting more normal.  She called the parents and
informed them of the situation and then grabed what testing supplies she had
in the office, and got in her car and drove to the field trip site.  She
spent the rest of the day on the field trip with the kids looking after the
girl. She had her usually pocket full of lifesaver rolls she usually carried
for me, and the knowledge that something had to be done to educate the
teacher to the seriousness of this childs disease.  My mom just couldn't
bare to leave the girl in a situation where no one knew how to take care of

So before you judge all school nurses, know that like teachers they aren't
all the same.  

Sorry so long,
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