If you read my post Day In The Life from last May, you will know that I worry a lot about Ally being away from home, away from me, for 8+ hours a day. Even though it was written last year when she was just a first grader, I still have the same feelings throughout the school day. I notice the clock at each scheduled blood glucose check time. I hold my breath for a few minutes, wondering if the nurse will call. Then I have a little sigh of relief and wait until the next BG check time, ultimately looking forward to seeing her get off the bus at 4:05pm.
The only thing that gets me through these school days is the confidence that I have in our school nurse. She is AWESOME!
Dear School Nurse, How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways!!!
She thanks me for all that I do for Ally. Let me say that again....She thanks me for all that I do for Ally. Her words, "I appreciate the time and dedication you take with Ally."
She advocates for Ally. Last year when H1N1 was a concern, she moved all of Ally's D supplies out of the clinic and arranged for her to use the principal's office for all D management in order to keep her away from the "sick" kids.
When Ally buys school lunch (which is not often), she walks down to the cafeteria with her and makes sure that Ally gets exactly what I requested and also what she has pre-bolused for. She worked with the food service staff so that now the monthly school lunch menu includes carb counts for all foods.
She encourages Ally's independence by allowing her to check her own BG, change lancets, enter info into her pump, and record info on the log slip (the one that comes home to me; nurse records on school log book). Of course she is looking over her shoulder the whole time!
She tells me when Ally's D supplies are running low.
She is aware that I have been making some adjustments in Ally's basal rate and carb ratios lately. So she called me today with a full explanation of Ally's BG numbers. (I usually recieve a slip of paper each day listing all of Ally's BG numbers, carbs, coverage, etc for the day.) She took the time to discuss with me what "could" be happening. She really feels part of Ally's diabetes management team. She said, "This is what I did"..."would you have done anything different?"
She praises Ally for recognizing "low" symptoms.
Some of this may sound easy to you, but let me assure you that Nurse P is one busy lady! Ally attends the public school in our community. This grade 1-5 elementary school has approximately 50 classrooms. With an average of 25 students in each class, that is about 1250 students! It is so large that they have 2 principals, so you either attend the "West" or the "East" side of the school. In many ways they function as two separate schools, even though it really is only one. Nurse P is the sole nurse for all 1250 students.
She acts as the liason between our family and the school, communicating with the teachers often about Ally. We recently adjusted some of Ally's basal rates and I get a little concerned about lows when we do. Without my asking, Nurse P said, "I'll let Mrs. M (classroom teacher) know that we are making some changes so that she understands if Ally needs to make extra trips to the clinic for a few days. WITHOUT MY ASKING!
She knows when Ally's teacher is absent and lets me know (not that I can do anything about it, but if she's taking the time to tell me then I know she is taking the time to touch base with the sub). Again, let me reiterate that there are 50 classroom teachers in this building! She makes it her business to notice when Ally's teacher is not there.
She has five type 1 students in this school. We all don't handle things the same way. Only two of the girls are pumping. Ally goes to a different endocrinologist than the others. Some bolus after meals; We pre-bolus. Some are allowed "free" snacks if they are 15 carbs or less; We bolus for all carbs! So Nurse P has a lot of factors to remember for each T1 student. They are all on different schedules, but if Ally doesn't come to the clinic at one of her BG check times, she calls down to the classroom to remind them.
She gets it. She understands the seriousness of this disease. She is diligent. She is confident. She is not too proud to ask me if she doesn't know.
Does Nurse P make mistakes? Sure. Does she occasionally make a judgement call that may be different than what I would do? Yes. But do any of us get D right all of the time? NO WAY!
And did I mention that she thanks me!!! I LOVE HER!
I know that others do not have a wonderfully awesome nurse like we do. Some don't even have school nurses! (So sorry Meri!) So, I do not take for granted for one day how lucky we are to have Nurse P. It makes my days away from Ally that much more bearable.
A few other experiences with school nurses that you may be interested in:
The Sugar Kids
We CARA Lot
My Diabetic Child