Actions for the Trained Diabetes Personnel

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With proper supervision and training, nonmedical school personnel or unlicensed assistive personnel, called “trained diabetes personnel” in this guide, can be trained and supervised to help students manage their diabetes safely at school. Trained diabetes personnel may include school staff members such as teachers, coaches, and administrators as well as health aides and licensed practical nurses. One or more school staff members should be trained to perform student-specific diabetes care tasks.

Once it has been determined that a student-specific diabetes care task may be delegated or assigned, the school nurse should be involved in the decision-making process to identify which school personnel are most appropriate to be trained. A diabetes-trained health care professional, such as the school nurse or a certified diabetes educator, develops and implements the training program using standardized training materials such as those described in Train School Personnel. They also evaluate the ability of trained diabetes personnel to perform the task and establish a plan for ongoing supervision throughout the school year.

In general, the school nurse, in collaboration with the principal, takes the lead in identifying, training, and providing ongoing supervision of trained diabetes personnel. The school nurse, another qualified health professional, or at least one of the trained diabetes personnel should be onsite during school hours and during school-sponsored activities that take place before or after school, or off campus, in which a student with diabetes participates.

The specific roles and responsibilities of the trained diabetes personnel will be determined by the student’s health care plans (the Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP) [PDF, 218 KB] is prepared by the student’s personal diabetes health care team and the Individualized Health Care Plan [PDF, 96 KB] and Emergency Care Plans for Hypoglycemia [PDF, 96 KB] and Hyperglycemia [PDF, 97 KB] are prepared by the school nurse) and education plan (Section 504 Plan, other education plan, or Individualized Education Plan). All diabetes care tasks should be provided as prescribed by the student's Diabetes Medical Management Plan or physician's orders. Under no circumstances should a trained diabetes personnel make decisions independent of the DMMP.

  • Understand your responsibilities under Federal and State laws that may apply to students with diabetes, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Understand the procedures for implementing these laws. (See School Responsibilities Under Federal Laws)
  • Participate in school health team meetings to discuss implementing the student’s health care and education plans. (See How Do You Plan Effective Diabetes Management in the School Setting?)
  • Complete successfully the Level 3 training described in this guide and demonstrate competency in student-specific diabetes care tasks. (See Train School Personnel) Participate in additional education and training, as needed, or if the student’s DMMP changes.
  • Perform or assist the student with routine and emergency diabetes care tasks, including blood glucose monitoring, urine and/or blood ketone testing, insulin and other medication administration, carbohydrate counting, and glucagon administration after receiving training under the direction of the school nurse or other assigned health care professional.
  • Know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, where routine and emergency supplies are kept, how to implement the student’s Emergency Care Plans for Hypoglycemia (PDF, 96 KB) and Hyperglycemia (PDF, 97 KB) , and how to activate Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in case of a diabetes emergency. (See Tools for Effective Diabetes Managment)
  • Document the diabetes care provided according to standards and requirements outlined by school policy.
  • Be available on campus during regular school hours and when the student participates in school-sponsored extracurricular activities held before or after school, as determined by the student’s health care and education plans.
  • Accompany the student on field trips or to off-campus school-sponsored sports events and activities, as determined by the student’s health care and education plans.
  • Know your role in helping the student with diabetes in a disaster, lockdown, or emergency situation.
  • Communicate directly and regularly with the school nurse or the supervising health care professional. Ask for help or review when uncertain about any task you have been asked to perform.
  • Consult with the school nurse and appropriate members of the school health team according to the student’s health care and education plans and when questions arise or the student’s health status changes.
  • Foster a supportive learning environment and treat the student with diabetes the same as other students, except when necessary to respond to their medical needs and any resulting educational needs. Be alert for teasing and bullying of the student with diabetes due to peers’ curiosity and lack of information about injections, blood glucose monitoring, or why the student with diabetes gets to eat snacks in the classroom.
  • Respect the student’s confidentiality and right to privacy.