The school nurse has a unique role in the provision of school health services for children with special health needs, including children with chronic illnesses and disabilities with various degrees of severity. This case describes the role of the school nurse caring for a child with type 1 diabetes.
Susan has two students with type 1 diabetes in her school, one requires blood glucose monitoring and daily insulin injections, while the other has a continuous insulin infusion pump. The incidence of type 1 diabetes presents a complex challenge to school healthcare providers. Type 1 diabetes ranks as the second most common chronic illness in childhood, second only to asthma. The American Diabetes Association (ADA, 2015) reports that about 193,000 Americans under age 20 live with diabetes and 17,900 are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes annually, and another 5,300 with type 2 diabetes. Children with diabetes are considered disabled and as such are protected under federal laws that prohibit discrimination against children with disabilities. Studies show that the majority of school personnel have an inadequate understanding of effective diabetes management. It is best for the student to monitor blood glucose and respond to the results as quickly as possible to avoid possible complications.
1. When the school nurse is unavailable, who is legally responsible for providing care to a child with diabetes? Explain your answer.