With the start of a new academic year around the corner, schools are readying classrooms and campuses and preparing staff for students’ return. The pediatric endocrinology department at the University of Texas Medical Branch is helping with the effort by offering an in-service program for unlicensed personnel on the management of diabetes in a school setting.
The program, “Managing Diabetes in Schools for Unlicensed Personnel,” will be held Aug. 22 in Dickinson ISD’s administration building, located at 2218 FM 517 East in Dickinson. For convenience, a three-hour session will be offered once in the morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. and once in the afternoon beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Developed by the American Diabetes Association, the program aims to help teachers, coaches and chaperons recognize the signs and symptoms of diabetes and how to help manage them.
Federal law requires that children with diabetes be accommodated, which means they cannot be denied participation in school events because they have diabetes. “Someone trained in diabetes management must be readily available to students,” explained Dr. William Riley, professor of pediatric endocrinology at UTMB. “This does not necessarily have to be a nurse.”
Nanette Jay, a certified diabetes educator and UTMB nurse, said the training is critical because children are in school for such a large part of their day.
“Schools are required to have personnel trained in diabetes care to facilitate safety from the football field to field trips,” she said. “Often the idea of insulin injections and emergency care becomes quite daunting to non-healthcare professionals.”
While children are often able to self-manage, that doesn’t mean there won’t be medical emergencies. “We need to make sure teachers and coaches know when to intervene and that they feel comfortable,” said Jay.
The UTMB department received several calls for training from a number of schools in the Galveston/Brazoria/Harris County area. “We physically could not go to each and every school,” said Riley. “But we want to help and we’re committed to the community, so we decided to offer a day of training at a central location.”
In 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 215,000 people younger than 20 were diagnosed with diabetes. The number of students with Type I diabetes was roughly four times the number of those with Type II, although reports indicate that number is rising.
For questions and more information call 409-692-3243 or email Nanette Jay at firstname.lastname@example.org