By Nichole Bobo, MSN, RN, Director of Nursing Education, National Association of School Nurses
Students with type 1 diabetes (T1D) benefit from care coordination led by the school nurse. Inclusion of the school nurse as part of the student’s healthcare team provides continuity of care between the home, school and healthcare team. The diabetes care and education specialist can act as a bridge between the school nurse and the healthcare team.
Students with T1D often utilize diabetes devices to manage their diabetes. The school nurse plays a crucial role in the child’s safe and optimal use of these devices while at school. According to a recent survey of National Association of School Nurses (NASN) members, 97% identified that it is extremely important or somewhat important to the role of the school nurse to keep up to date with the latest in diabetes technology.
Having the school nurse as part of the team results in so much more than administering insulin or counting carbohydrates when at school. The assessment skills of the school nurse are critical to monitoring the student’s response to moving between virtual and in-person learning, school-sponsored events and field trips, and changes in class schedules (e.g., lunch breaks, physical activity, recess). Equipped with the mindset of 21st century school nursing practice, the school nurse brings a student-centered approach to planning, implementing and evaluating care provided at school that are aligned with the health and academic goals of the student, family and healthcare team.
Having expertise in both health and education, the school nurse facilitates communication between the healthcare team, school administration and school personnel. School nurses are members of the broader school community, keenly aware of both community resources and social challenges faced by families. Sharing the school year sets the stage for relationship building between the school nurse and families – a trusting relationship that allows the school nurse to address both social and resource challenges to diabetes care. This relationship can also allay fears families may have about the level of care provided at school for their child with diabetes.
Having access to evidence-based professional development and resources is so important to support life-long learning and competence for the independent practice of school nursing. The specialty nursing organization, NASN, is the main resource for professional nursing practice. While many resources are open access to all school nurses, members benefit from the collaboration between NASN and the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ADCES) that brings diabetes care tools and technology support through danatech.
ADCES Perspectives on Diabetes Care
The Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists Perspectives on Diabetes Care covers diabetes, prediabetes and other cardiometabolic conditions. Not all views expressed reflect the official position of the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists.
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HEALTHCARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your diabetes care and education specialist or healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. To find a diabetes care and education specialist near you, visit DiabetesEducator.org/Find.