No Policy Is Bad Policy: Schools Unprepared For Diabetes

A study conducted by Frances Migdol Melchionne, RN, in Towaco, N.J., discovered that 92% of the schools surveyed had no written policy for handling children with diabetes.

According to Melchionne, diabetes is the most common endocrine disorder of childhood, yet few schools know what to do with their diabetic students.

Fifty-four percent of school personnel who were polled said better education of faculty and greater access to nursing services were necessary for diabetes to get the attention it deserved.

Melchionne concludes that schools must formulate guidelines for diabetes management and care in school settings and help administrators develop positive policies. Melchionne believes that certified diabetes educators need to play an active role in increasing awareness within schools. School nurses who, according to Melchionne “play a large part in the life of the chronically ill child in the school setting,” should be offered diabetes-specific education.

Melchionne writes, “The educational community needs to be made aware of the vital role of the school nurse…in order to preserve this role in the school environment.”

The report also concludes that colleges and universities should offer classes for prospective teachers who might encounter students with chronic diseases.

This research was presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting and Educational Program of the AADE in Boston, August 1995.

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