Virginia Non-Medical School Personnel Help Care For Diabetic Students

In 1999, Virginia passed a law requiring non-medical school personnel to help students with their type 1 diabetes whenever a school nurse isn’t around. A recent study looked at who was filling in for the missing nurses and whether they were doing a good job of it.

The study collected anonymous responses from 185 parents of children with type 1 attending Virginia public schools, 31 percent of which did not have a full-time nurse. In those schools, teachers, administrators, coaches, and cafeteria workers filled in to care for students when the part-time nurse was absent. Incidents of low blood sugar were fairly common, with 75 percent of kids having an average of five episodes a year. Only one severe hypo requiring glucagon was reported, however, and a part-time nurse was around at the time to handle it.

The study authors concluded that students with type 1 can be cared for safely by a variety of school personnel and that laws permitting non-medical school workers to help students with their diabetes management could make them safer.

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Source: Diabetes Care, June 2007

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