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teachers monitoring diabetic students?
Old 01-25-2020, 02:28 PM
 
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In your district/city/state are teachers expected to monitor diabetic primary students take blood sugars and administer insulin during class instruction?

This was a major issue when I was teaching and the primary teacher was asked to pull a second-grade student aside, check her blood sugars, give her snacks or insulin as prescribed by parents all during class time. Previous years this school had a nurse that served the child in kindergarten and first grade but the nurse was no longer at the school.

The teacher refused to administer daily medical care for this child feeling that the student deserved an adult dedicated to student medical needs and this medical care should be delivered privately. The district hired an aid specifically to assist the child as well as other children with medical needs.

My question is are teachers required to make medical decisions and deliver medical care to primary students in your area?

Do you think teachers should be expected to be legally responsible for student health care?


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My opinion
Old 01-25-2020, 02:36 PM
 
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I would adamantly refuse to monitor the health of an insulin dependent or otherwise diabetic child. I am a teacher, NOT a nurse! Nursing duties are not in any teacher contract that I've ever seen. I wouldn't want that responsibility nor the possible liability.
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Old 01-25-2020, 02:49 PM
 
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We had the language added to our contract to cover this- we have the right refuse medical responsibilities that we feel unqualified for or are otherwise uncomfortable with.

Heck no I am not doing that.
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I was asked
Old 01-25-2020, 02:56 PM
 
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to allow my student to have both a morning and afternoon snack, but to monitor the blood sugar and administer insulin he went to the nurse's office and did it himself or the nurse did it.
There is NO way I would ever give an injection to a student or would I be responsible to do the blood sugar level.

In my state people love to sue. No way would I do any medical care for a student. No teacher is allowed to give medical care to a student unless it is a real emergency situation such as an epi pen, CPR or using the defibillator.

Most diabetics are trained to do self care. The teacher should not be assigned to do it.
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Old 01-25-2020, 03:12 PM
 
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We don't have nurses in our schools. Generally these things are an office responsibility, but it can also fall to the teacher. Or the parent is asked to come in several times a day to do it. None of this is really satisfactory or ideal, but it's how it is.

One school I taught at, we had a teacher who had Type 1 Diabetes herself. When we did enrol a diabetic child, she became a valuable resource, but that would be a rare occurrence.


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Absolutely not...
Old 01-25-2020, 03:13 PM
 
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I only had a diabetic student one time. We do have a nurse always on duty in our building. He had to go to her before and after gym and recess to monitor sugar levels, as well as any time he felt he was low or high. I had a specific student who accompanied him to the nurse during those times in case there was a problem, which fortunately, there never was. For parties, the nurse would call his mother who would access his sugars technologically from his insulin pump, and determine whether or not he could have the snack and what adjustment the nurse needed to make. We also needed a nurse or one of his parents on any field trips, and when we had an interschool visit tour, I dropped his kit off at their nurse's office.

No way would I accept responsibility for doing any testing.
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Oh, Heck No!
Old 01-25-2020, 03:14 PM
 
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Do you have a union? WE are not school nurses.
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Old 01-25-2020, 03:35 PM
 
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We aren't even allowed to give kids a cough drop! All medicines must be kept in the office (except rescue inhalers).
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Old 01-25-2020, 03:37 PM
 
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Years ago, when I worked in a Composite Room, the special education teacher would monitor the students with diabetes.

I had a student with a seizure disorder one year. I had to be trained in how to administer the suppository if she ever had a seizure during school because the school refused to have a full time nurse.

This year I have a student who has Butterfly syndrome. She comes with her own nurse who is in the classroom monitoring her at all times.

Other students are monitored by the school nurse. We finally have a full time nurse due to the amount of medical issues of students in our school.
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Old 01-25-2020, 03:55 PM
 
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No. I would absolutely refuse. Checking blood sugar and administering insulin? Thatís waaaaaay too much liability.


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Old 01-25-2020, 04:17 PM
 
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I've not seen classroom teachers being required to test blood glucose or inject insulin although sometimes they're willing to help, especially with the testing. Honestly, there's nothing difficult or risky about testing for blood glucose levels but it can be disruptive for teachers to have to drop everything to help a kid when they feel like they're low. It's a little more complicated helping kids balance carbs and insulin. Usually there are one or two people who are designated (and trained) to help students who need it. I would say that it's definitely within a teacher's rights to decline to accept responsibility for monitoring diabetic care for a student.
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Old 01-25-2020, 04:26 PM
 
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Several years ago I had a diabetic student. The parents weren't able to go on a (long) field trip. My team was told none of us could do it- we had a special education teacher go who was trained in shots, etc. Even then I think she called the school health aide and was told dosages based on blood sugar.
Liability aside, I can't do it. I pass out easily with needles- after tb testing, just talking to a doctor about what vaccines to get before getting pregnant. Hopefully if it was my personal child I could get it together. There's a reason I didn't pursue a nursing career!
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Old 01-25-2020, 04:51 PM
 
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Do I think teachers should be legally responsible for student health care? Absolutely not, and I've refused to do it. I've had diabetic students twice, that required blood sugar monitoring, and insulin shots, and the district had to hire a nurse to do it. I've also had students with other medical needs that required administering medications of various kinds, and I've refused to be responsible for it.

I am not trained as a medical practitioner, and I don't want to be responsible for a student's medical needs. I don't believe it's part of my job. They've never been able to force me to do it (although I've definitely been asked), so I'm guessing that teachers in my state are not required to do it.
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:31 PM
 
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I would think this would not be allowed as it is not in a teacher's job description and may cause liability for the teacher/school.
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slightly off topic...
Old 01-25-2020, 06:35 PM
 
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My first year of teaching, 21 years old, fresh out of college, 6th grade, I had a newly-diagnosed, not-very-responsible diabetic AND a severe peanut allergy in my LUNCH class.

Thankfully we had a very strong office staff and nurse so I was never expected to be their primary medical contact but remember thinking really? This does NOT seem safe...
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:03 PM
 
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The mom told the teacher that they would not hold her medically responsible if something happened to the child but we ALL know how that would go if something unfortunate happened to the student. I think the district knew that they would be held responsible for any mistakes that happened and certainly the teacher knew that as well. The student aid situation seemed to work out but I've often wondered how other districts handle diabetic children with no nurse to supervise medication.

Thank goodness for our teacher's union. I really think that if push came to shove they would have had to support the teacher's position.

Teachers shouldn't deliver medical services.
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Old 01-26-2020, 12:38 AM
 
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I had a student who had an aide who helped the student monitor, do the math and figure out what snack to eat. The mom decided she wanted her child to be like the other kids and wanted to eliminate the aide. Then it would be my responsibility. Two years prior, this child had a seizure at school. There was no way I was going to accept this liability.

Nobody would back me up. The principal stayed out of it (although she wasnít against what I was doing to fight it, because she would have had liability too). School nurse and nursing dept. told me that it was basic first aid! The district wanted to save money.

My district rep from the union came to the meeting, and I didnít have to say a word. The gentleman had diabetes himself so he spoke with authority. He said if they went ahead, he would be filing unfair labor practices the next day! The school nurse and mom backed off. I never begrudged paying my union dues before and after this experience, I was so glad to have a union.

Later in the year, the mom complained to the principal about me (some minor thing). The principal supported me. I really felt ambushed because I did extra things for this mom and student. She never spoke to me about it. I think she just wanted to get me in trouble. I saw her in a different light after that.

My advice, donít take on responsibilities that weíre not trained for. Itís not worth it!
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Old 01-26-2020, 01:08 AM
 
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Honestly, unless by aide you guys mean a CNA, an aide is a no go in my book. Diabetes is 100% manageable, but can go south quickly. On this very board, a poster had a diabetic student medivacced out just a couple of days ago. Until a child is no longer a child and can be expected to take 100% ownership of their disease, monitoring blood sugar and administering insulin is the job of only two people...the childís parents or a trained medical professional.

Iím cringing for the aide hired if itís simply a regular para. Paraís have even less protection than teachers do if something goes wrong.
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Old 01-26-2020, 02:22 AM
 
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No, I would not feel comfortable giving that level of care, nor are we required to.
We have been trained on administering suppositories for seizure disorders and how to use an epipen.
We have a nurse for the entire district. I donít know that I would recognize her. We used to have a full time nurse at our school. Now, We have a staff person (not a nurse, I think it is a slightly above minimum wage job) in the health room that would be in charge of monitoring diabetes numbers.
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Old 01-26-2020, 04:13 AM
 
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All our schools have full-time nurses. I am Elementary. I have had several students with diabetes but I'm just expected to keep an eye on them and if I feel there is something going on send them right to the nurse. They also had several times a day where they checked in with the nurse regularly and tested blood sugars and used their insulin or she checked their pump if needed.

When we had classroom parties or a birthday treat came in I also contacted the nurse so she could come down and help the child make choices and adjust for them with their insulin if needed.

Also if something like that becomes a teacher's responsibility, what in the world happens if the teacher is out and there is a substitute teacher? Who takes care of it then? That is an awful liability waiting to happen and I would never agree to do it.
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Old 01-26-2020, 04:33 AM
 
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I'm in a union public school. I've had 2 diabetic students over the years. 1 was stable and had the pump and monitored things on his own. I personally didn't have any problem with it because mom and our district nurse were a phone call away. I balked at the shot in the kit I was to use in an emergency until the nurse told me it wasn't my responsibility to administer the shot--it was there for the EMS crew to use.

Another wasn't as easy or stable nor as accepting of his diabetes. Daily after lunch, I was to record his carb intake(luckily mom had it all worked out and written down). Student input the numbers in pump. As the year progressed, I encouraged student to record numbers himself, and I monitored. This one student would call mom when needed but the nurse was also available and would come when/if I needed. The following year, he wasn't as compliant and the school had issues because he wouldn't always eat what he and mom had worked out so the carb intake was different, etc.

I turned down taking a student I had to administer daily insulin shots too. Another teacher took this student because they knew how to give the shots and calculate the carbs due to a family member's health experience.

We also get paid a small stipend to have these students in our class.

Do I think it's my legal responsibility? No, but on the other hand, these are students in our building. We can't turn them away. What if it was my personal child, I had to work? Would I want/expect school to do what my child needed? yes, but as a parent, I'd be uncomfortable that a nurse wasn't on site.

If I was absent, I'd contact the nurse and she'd go in to read the numbers. I also let mom know and she'd come to the school. The students also knew other staff they could go to if I was out. It truly was the building supporting these students.
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Old 01-26-2020, 06:13 AM
 
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When I taught first grade at a charter school, we had no nurse. My student tested his blood in the classroom and I knew the numbers. I also had supplies if needed. (His mother wrote instructions.) It was very easy. The only trouble I had was with other parents that complained that he should not be pricking his finger in the classroom because of the blood. They were awful. I supported this parent/student because it is a law that he is able to check is blood sugar levels no matter where he is.
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Old 01-26-2020, 06:17 AM
 
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I would never do this. We're not trained as nurses or medics. I'd go to the union or the board. That is absolutely ridiculous and a lawsuit waiting to happen.

I had a kid move from my room to another teacher's during the year, and I was so relieved because we were expected to stick him with a needle in the thigh if he was low on sugar or something like that, and I was scared to death I wouldn't do it right. (It's been a few years, so I don't recall exactly what he was low on.)

I am bad with my hands, so that is part of the reason.
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Old 01-26-2020, 08:02 AM
 
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Quote:
we were expected to stick him with a needle in the thigh if he was low on sugar or something like that, and I was scared to death I wouldn't do it right.
You're probably talking about injecting glucagon for low blood sugar. Teachers in this state are required to know how to do that as well as how to use an epipen for anaphalactic reaction. It's hard to do it wrong but the more important piece of the training is how to notice when a kid is showing signs of low blood sugar.

Quote:
I balked at the shot in the kit I was to use in an emergency until the nurse told me it wasn't my responsibility to administer the shot--it was there for the EMS crew to use.
This is the part that Wisconsin teachers aren't allowed to decline. In a rural school, if a child has lost consciousness because of low blood glucose, the child might die if you wait for the EMS crew to get there. And this is the part that is covered by the Good Samaritan law. It's hard to do it incorrectly but, if you did, you could not be sued. I've never had to do it in a school situation, but I did once in a non-school situation and I was very glad that I knew how.
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Teachers not allowed to give meds.
Old 01-26-2020, 04:34 PM
 
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On paper, I'm not supposed to give ANYTHING, not even toothache gel or Neosporin or a cough drop. I would never take responsibility for monitoring a chronic illness or delivering medical care, unless it was an emergency, like administering a child's epi-pen if they had an allergic reaction. Teachers shouldn't have this on their plate, too, especially just because districts are too cheap to hire full-time nurses.
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Old 01-27-2020, 09:32 AM
 
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One autistic student at school where I sub frequently has a full time aide and nurse (two people) with him at all times during school. Student is diabetic as well as autistic.
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Old 01-28-2020, 06:55 AM
 
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In my state only medical personnel can administer the suppository. We have a student who requires that enrolled now. That's scary.
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