Welcome?

If you have found this blog, saying Welcome does not really seem appropriate. I know you wish you weren't surfing the internet for diabetes. I felt the same.

A big part of me wishes I were not writing about diabetes, nor did I anticipate to become so opinionated or informed on the subject, but it happened. In 2010, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

It wasn't really part of the plan… Correction - it was not part of the plan, but it happened. It is not always easy, but I think we are all doing okay, and I hope we continue to do so.

Why the Middle East? I happen to live in Dubai. I don't think that living in the Middle East makes mine or my son's diabetic experience any more unique or challenging than it does elsewhere in the developed world.

I hope you stick around, or read something you like. Feel free to comment and join the conversation, subscribe or follow this blog by liking the Facebook page Diapoint.

Please note: This blog does not give medical advice. I am opinionated, and I share my experiences, but the first rule of diabetes is to follow up with your doctor and/or nurse educator about your care, diagnosis or medication. If you do not have a medical practitioner that is helping you find your way through this crazy world, then do not give up until you find the right one.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Type 1 Diabetes & The School Nurse

Managing Type 1 Diabetes at School - it is a subject I have written a lot about. It is always a learning experience every week, if not every day for those involved! I know I learn a lot as schedules and activities change. There are so many things to consider to keep a diabetic child safe at school it can sometimes feel overwhelming.

I think it can be just as difficult for the school nurse to take in. After all, they have hundreds of children to worry about and take care of. Understanding their challenges and the sometimes lack of awareness of diabetes, I wanted to do something to support them for some time.

The idea to do this started last spring before school finished. Once again, I was honored to work with Lilly Diabetes as we both felt it was such an important subject. After months of networking and collaborating I am grateful for their sponsorship of an education session last Friday just for school nurses.

It was a full house, and we even had some nurses come in from Al Ain, which is quite a drive for them. During this session, they listened to expert physicians discuss the medical details of Type 1 and how it differs from Type2 and how to manage it at school.

I was honored to be part of the agenda and shared my experiences as a parent highlighting some of my son's challenges at school as a Type 1 Diabetic and challenges that other diabetics may face.

There is a lot to think about. Having a clear Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP) in place is key. Not only does it include the medical orders about how to treat a particular child, it is also a document that fosters communication between parent and school nurse about how a child should be cared for. I say particular child because each diabetic is different and each diabetic should have an individual DMMP.  While there are some general guidelines to follow, DMMPs are not a one size fits all.

While I shared many stories, still, one of my most important points was a statement from the US National Association of School Nurses.

Managing diabetes at school is most effective when there is a partnership among students, parents, school nurses, health care providers, teachers, counselors, coaches, transportation, food service employees and administrators.

It is the school nurse that provides the health expertise and coordination needed to ensure cooperation from all partners in assisting the student toward self - management of diabetes.

If you are a school nurse, your role is critical in supporting our children. If something is wrong at school related to our child and their diabetes, you will likely be the first to know before anyone.

Sometimes there are not enough nurses to support a diabetic child at school, or they may be hesitant to do so as they have never dealt with a Type 1 child before. What should you do?

I never assume the school will have all the answers, so typically my son's school nurses and I partner to coordinate my son's care. Sometimes I take the lead and reach out to the teacher, or who ever needs to be reached, other times it is the nurse.

Like the DMMP, there is not exactly a one size fits all template as to how to do this. It is not easy. Ever.

Even with the best nurses it will still require work. But it is one relationship that is well worth the time and effort that you will never regret investing in.

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