PRESTONSBURG — Medical professionals and school staff came together on Friday morning as delegated staff training sessions for diabetes treatment took place at the Big Sandy Community and Technical College’s Prestonsburg student center.
New laws in Kentucky allow designated school staff, not just school nurses, who have taken this training to administer insulin injections and other medications to students in need. Friday’s session saw guidance counselors, secretaries, and other support staff on hand for the training.
To begin with, instructors worked with lunchroom managers to go over the latest cafeteria menus, and help trainees learn how to count the carbohydrates in breakfast and lunch meals. This carb count, together with the student’s existing blood sugar, recent physical activity, and the mandates established in his or her individual medical plan, can be used to calculate the amount of insulin or other medication needed.
Staff were trained in recognizing symptoms of high and low blood sugar, and also trained to test urine if diabetic ketoacidosis is suspected.
Angie Conley, R.N., a certified diabetic coordinator, and Jennifer Martin, a health coordinator with the school system, led the class. Attendees learned the basics about the different types of diabetes, carb counting, and the process of safely giving injections, from both a syringe and a dedicated insulin pen.
Bus drivers and athletic coaches also underwent a similar, but less rigorous, training. The goal is for students’ specific medical needs to be accommodated any time they are in the care of the school system.
“We have a great group,” Martin said of Friday’s 50 attendees. “They’re attentive, engaged, and willing to do what it takes to help kids.”