Jewels Doskicz is a registered nurse, freelance writer, patient advocate, health coach, and long-distance cyclist. Jewels is the moderator of Diabetic Connect’s weekly #DCDE Twitter chat, and she and her daughter both live healthfully with type 1 diabetes.
For a state that prides itself on being forward-thinking, California has found itself at the bottom of the barrel for its protocols for kids with diabetes at school.
To the elation of parents, a recent ruling in California now allows trained school employees to give insulin. But nursing groups are understandably up in arms about the potential dangers this may hold for students with type 1 diabetes.
This ruling will affect the 14,000 students in California who live with diabetes, of which only 5 percent have schools with full-time nurses.
According to latimes.com, Dennis Peter Maio, who argued the case for the diabetes group, said the ruling "ends the discrimination in our schools against children with diabetes, once and for all."
Having read about families' dilemmas in California, a few things seemed implausible in this day and age. Until this recent ruling, a working parent was expected to leave their job and assist their child with insulin administration at school when a nurse wasn't present — quite a pickle to place a family in. If I understand our rights correctly, we should be protected against such treatment under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The American Nurses Association called the August ruling "a disturbing precedent for California and the nation," arguing that only licensed healthcare workers could administer medicine under state law. They also said the decision lowers the level of care for children who are entitled to receive healthcare services at school and puts them at risk for medication errors.
As a nurse, a person with diabetes and a parent to a child with it, I can appreciate the concerns on all fronts. Ideally, having nurses in all schools would be key. Ultimately, the needs of a child with a chronic disease in a public school system must be met; that simply isn't a choice.