School Nurse Administers Knowledge of Diabetes Care

  • February 6, 2015
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One of the winners from our inaugural School Nurse leadership Awards trains others to treat students with diabetes.

Susan is a student with Type 1 diabetes, and her target range for blood glucose is 70-120. Before eating lunch, her blood sugar is 140. At lunch, Susan eats mini corn dogs, baked beans and pears, for a total of 112 grams of carbs. Her doctor’s orders are to give one unit of insulin for every 15 grams of carbs eaten, in addition to half of a dose for every 10 over the target range.

How many units of insulin should Susan be given after lunch?

This question highlights why it’s so important to have well-trained nursing staff to ensure all students with diabetes can be properly cared for. Katherine Park, a school nurse in the Parkway School District in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, is making sure this is a possibility. While working as a school nurse, Katherine became aware of the challenges of care for students with diabetes — especially after a school nurse in one elementary school had to leave because of her own medical emergency and three children with diabetes were left with no one who knew how to manage conditions or respond in case of an emergency.

“Any school nurse who has worked with just one student with diabetes knows the time involved, the commitment and care, and education that’s needed,” Katherine says. “You need to go a lot more into depth than with other health conditions such as asthma.”

Katherine adapted the Americans with Disabilities Act program Trained Diabetic Personnel (TDP) to train staff across her school and the district. So impressive is the program Katherine has developed that Healthy Schools Campaign named her the Outstanding Policy Leader in our inaugural School Nurse Leadership Awards in 2014.

At the time Katherine won the award, she had trained 34 district staff, and we’re sure that number is even higher now.

But that’s not all Katherine has done in her 14 years as a school nurse. Building on her in-school work on diabetes, Katherine has also been involved on the policy side, working with state legislators to write a bill to help keep children with diabetes medically safe at school. Katherine also served on a committee of experts that developed diabetes personnel training standards for Missouri.

Applications for the second round of School Nurse Leadership Awards open Monday, Feb. 9. Sign up here to be the first to find out when they’re available.