Registered nurse Nanette Jay, left, and registered dietitian Kathleen Lipko are training teachers and coaches to help manage diabetes in school children in school settings. Both are certified diabetes educators.
By Maureen Balleza | UTMB at Galveston
To prepare for the soon-to-start academic year, educators from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are training elementary, middle and high school staff to help manage diabetes in school children.
“Managing Diabetes in Schools for Unlicensed Personnel,” takes place Thursday, Aug. 22, in Dickinson Independent School District’s administration building, located at 2218 FM 517 East in Dickinson.
Developed by the American Diabetes Association, this program aims to help teachers, coaches and chaperones recognize, and help manage in the school setting, the signs and symptoms of diabetes in school children.
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 William Riley, M.D., 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-health care professionals.”
While children are often able to self-manage, Jay said 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,” she said.
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.
UTMB’s pediatric endocrinology department received several calls for training from a number of schools in the Galveston, Brazoria, and 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.