When your child has food allergies and is attending school or daycare, as a parent, you are already anxious about your child’s safety while not under your care.
You take precautions.
You talk with your child about food safety, not sharing food with other students, and asking the teacher if something is safe before eating it.
You have frequent conversations with your child’s teachers, explaining what is safe and not safe for your child.
You pack all of his snacks and lunches, to further avoid potential problems.
You send emergency medication to the school, such as Benadryl and Epinephrine.
You turn in paperwork from the doctor and speak with the school nurse…
Hold on! Put on the brakes! The school nurse – essential for the safety of students while in the care of the school are in a shortage in American public schools due to budget cuts.
Forget that kids suddenly fall ill while at school. How many times did you suddenly come down with a stomach bug and threw up when you were in school? It was nice to go to the nurse’s office, have her call your mom to pick you up, and lie down on one of the beds until she got there.
Maybe you started your first period at school, and the nurse was there for you to give you necessary supplies and send you on your way.
Or maybe you fell during gym class and twisted your ankle, and the nurse’s quick thinking reduced the swelling before you went to the hospital for x-rays, speeding your recovery.
All that’s well and good, but with food allergies on the rise, school nurse’s aren’t just caregivers to the sick and injured – they are life saving essentials to the school personnel. So why don’t some schools have a full-time nurse on staff?
Budget cuts. Frightening, to say the least, am I right?
The best offense is a good defense. This is true in sports and true in health care. Prevention is key. You put all your players in place, hoping that you will never have to enact your worse case scenario plan, but the plan is there just in case.
Peanuts are kept out of the classroom as much as possible (it’s not 100%, but you’re close).
Your child only eats food you send to school especially for him. The teacher knows that he can’t eat certain foods. He knows he shouldn’t eat certain foods…
But, something happens one day. He can’t resist the cupcake during a fellow student’s birthday party, and he takes a bite. The teacher notices immediately and rushes him to the nurse’s office, where his emergency medication is waiting to be administered, only the nurse isn’t there. She hasn’t arrived yet for her part-time shift, or maybe, she’s not coming in at all because there is no nurse on staff.
Maybe the teacher has been trained on epi-pen usage, maybe she hasn’t. Either way, she’s not well versed in such emergency medication. She doesn’t do this every day. She doesn’t work in the medical field. She’s a teacher, an educator, not a nurse. She will undoubtedly do her best, but when a child is having a food allergic reaction, especially anaphylaxis, every second counts. Having a nurse with the training, the education, and the instincts can save these precious seconds and get the child on the road to recovery before the ambulance even arrives.
Many who are having a food allergic reaction, without proper emergency medication, can die before help arrives.
So then why are 1/4 of our public schools without school nurses? Funding gaps? It’s time for a “Get us a Full-Time School Nurse FUNDRAISER“, and ask the parents to chip in. A school nurse can mean the difference between life and death.
Note: Some schools who have part-time nurses or no nurse also having assistants who are trained specifically to act as emergency personnel for medical purposes. Find out what the status is at your child’s school of the school nurse, her hours in her office, and any assistant she may have who is trained and how they are trained and what certifications they have received. A lack of a registered nurse does not mean your child is in danger if someone else whose primary job it is to act as on site medical staff is present and well trained.
Source: Los Angeles Times
Question: Does your child’s school have a full-time nurse on staff?
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