Children have unique diabetic needs and it is important that school staff are aware of how to properly care for diabetic children. Children are more commonly afflicted with type 1 diabetes but the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children is increasing rapidly. This demonstrates a need for interventions that emphasize healthy lifestyle behaviors.
School nurse involvement is crucial in testing and the administration of insulin and/or glucagon when needed. It is also beneficial to have additional staff members (not nurses) within the school environment who are comfortable assisting students with their diabetes. Staff can advocate for and support diabetic students by understanding the importance of water and bathroom breaks as well as blood sugar monitoring. Educating the children's classmates about diabetes will also help to increase understanding and break down barriers between peers.
Schools are great places to educate children and families about diabetes and dispel myths about the disease. They can be a source for students, parents, teachers, and administrators to prevent and manage diabetes through improved food choices, exercise opportunities, education, and screening. They may also provide a more appropriate learning environment for children and adolescents than clinical settings.
Resources to Learn More
the Student with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel
The guide includes recommended actions for school administrator, nurse, trained diabetes personnel, teacher, physical education teacher, food service manager, transportation manager and bus driver, school psychologist, counselor or social worker, parents and guardians, and students
Organization(s): National Institute of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Managing Diabetes at School
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that it is especially important for children to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent complications from their diabetes. Here they make lifestyle recommendations, suggestions on what a diabetic child should carry with them if they have diabetes, and what to do while sick. This CDC website provides useful resources for rural stakeholders and also provides links to other key diabetes-related websites for children and schools.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Helping Administer to the Needs of the Student with
Diabetes in School
H.A.N.D.S. is a training program for school nurses on effective diabetes management for students. It provides current diabetes knowledge, as well as diabetes management tools. It is available as an in-person full-day continuing education program and as an online course, led by a school nurse and an RN-certified diabetes educator.
Organization(s): National Association of School Nurses
Health and Diabetes Best Practices: Youth and Type 2 Diabetes Prevention and Treatment
This document identifies best practices that can be implemented to serve children with or at-risk for type 2 diabetes.
Organization(s): Indian Health Services
This website contains a number of resources for school staff and diabetes. Each training has a video and PowerPoint presentation specific to training content.
Organization(s): American Diabetes Association