School Nurse Issues!

Hello all!  I'm sure it has been posted many times before, but we are having a horrible time with our daughter's school nurse.  She is only ten and in fourth grade.   We have had some incidents of her school nurse overstepping when it comes to educating Jocelyn on her diabetes. Things such as mild scolding for high blood sugars and carbohydrates consumed, to what may seem like passing judgement on diabetes management.  We had a conference where we brought together her teachers, guidance counselor, Jocelyn's Dad), Jocelyn and myself.  In that conference, there were a lot of issues addressed, including the way her nurse handles Jocelyn's daily diabetes care.  I believed at that point things were better and we all were on the same page.
From that point on, Jocelyn would say things about howher nurse was going to be "mad' at her or how she's going to be in trouble if her sugar is high.  I told Jocelyn to tell her we are working on adjusting her insulin with AI duPont and if she is upset, to contact one of us.  I never knew how bad it was until last week.
While meeting with her counselor last week, Jocelyn told us there have been times, especially recently, where she has gone in the bathroom and cried because the nurse has yelled at her about her diabetes.  There was even one day, she told us, her friends consoled her at lunch because she was so upset.  To hear this completely broke my heart.  Jocelyn told me she didn't want us to know because she knew we would confront the nurse, which in return, would make it harder on her.  Right after that appointment, we were scheduled with endocrine. During that time, we spoke with the nurse educator and Jocelyn broke down to her as well.  After hearing this, the nurse educator convinced Jocelyn something needed to be done.  She also agreed that it is completely out of line for the nurse to be creating more stress on this child who already has so much to deal with.  The next day, Jocelyn asked me to hold off on the conference because the nurse was in a good mood and happy with Jocelyn because she remembered to bring her new blood sugar meter to school.  Still, as much as I didn't want to, I waited. I was in a bad position.
Today was the final straw.  Jocelyn's dad picked her up, and shortly after, called me extremely upset.  Jocelyn informed him that tomorrow the cafeteria will be serving water ice in celebration of the first day of spring.  All the kids were excited, including Jocelyn.  All that changed, however, when she went to the nurse. She told Jocelyn if her sugar is over 190, she was not allowed to have it.  She then continued to say "..and don't go home and give your parents drama becase what happens here is under my watch."  Jocelyn doesn't want to go to that school anymore and is begging me not to make her.  She loves her teachers and her friends, it's just that nurse.
I am livid.  This is not about water ice, this is about her making rules when she has no right to.  This is about her disciplining my child for medical issues she has no control over.  This is about her scaring my child, and having her keep things from us. I emailed her principal and told her we would be at school tomorrow morning for a conference.

I could kick myself for waiting, but I didn't want to stress Joci out even more.  I guess I'm looking for someone who has been through this and to see if I'm going about things the right way. I'm sorry it is so long!!

I'm sorry to hear touch are having so much trouble!

That is completely rude and not ok. You are doing a great job at handling this and you should be proud. Keep me update as to what happens.

Keep your head held high and fallow what you think is right!

Keep the good work up.

Sending love, jess xox

I haven't been in exactly this position, but my daughter is in fourth grade too so I can sure empathize.  I'd talk to the principal and make it clear that Jocelyn's blood sugar is private medical information that she is not required to disclose to anyone.  The nurse is forcing her to divulge this information, which is an abuse of her position of authority.  She is also creating an emotionally abusive and hostile environment detrimental to learning.  I'd then ask the principal what she is going to do to rectify the situation.  If you aren't completely satisfied with the answer, make sure the principal understands that you'll take whatever legal action is required to protect Jocelyn, such as a seeking a restraining order or more substantive measures.

Likely the principal will be on your side, and you can agree on some ground rules.  You could suggest:

1.  The nurse is never to ask Jocelyn for her blood glucose numbers.  If the nurse wants them, she must contact you or her dad.

2.  The nurse is not to make any diet recommendations or otherwise restrict Jocelyn's diet without specific written instructions from Jocelyn's doctor.

3.  The nurse is not allowed to treat Jocelyn except in a medical emergency, such as if she is unconscious.  If it is not a medical emergency, the nurse is to get your verbal authorization prior to each intervention.  Then she must provide a complete written summary of the incident and response.

4.  The nurse is not to ask any questions about Jocelyn's diabetes or general health.  She is not to provide any health information about diabetes unless either Jocelyn or you or her dad request this information in writing.

Once you agree on the ground rules, meet with the nurse and make sure she understands them by asking her to repeat them to you in her own words.  Then have her sign a copy that you keep.  Then talk to Jocelyn and make sure she knows the nurse is there if she ever needs help, but that she and the nurse are not going to talk about diabetes any more.  Ask her to tell you if the nurse ever asks anything about her blood sugar or gives her advice.

All the other advice is good, but I have a different perspective. Sometimes it's a waste of time to try to educate people who want to stick to their own misguided beliefs.  Bad information about diabetes is rampant in the medical community.  I'm in nursing school myself and am shocked by the outdated information taught about diabetes.  

In my own life I always try to educate if someone questions my diabetes mangement.  If the other person isn't receptive, I just let it go.   Part of having diabetes is learning to have confidence even if someone less educated thinks you're "not doing it right." So in Jocelyn's case, she should have the water ice if she knows it's okay to do so.  

You also might get the nurse a book like Riva Greenberg's "50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life; And the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It."  

This youtube video below is NOT appropriate for your daughter (it has bad language), but you might like it and it may help you have a sense of humor about the misguided nurse.  


Those are very good recommendations!

If things don't get better, have a lawyer write the nurse and school a letter. That will get their attention. WHat the nurse is doing is idiotic and a bit evil. She is going to cause an eating disorder.

I am having trouble with one of my kids and it took a lawyer to help move things in the right direction. My son's school was trying to prosecute him for truancy even though he is mentally ill and was in a hospital. Talk about stress. The doctors and lawyers are outraged and the treatment he has received at this school.

Things are better now and the lawyer too care of things rather easily.

As a child I learned that the only person capable of managing my diabetes was me. All too often other people would tell me "you need to control your sugar better". What did they know? Only what they heard. Not as a parent, but as a child I can say I understand the frustration and anxiety Jocelyn is going through. So here is my humble opinion. Your child is being abused at school. You are her first line of defense. Get in there and take names and kick ******. The principle is the primary responsible party on campus. Do not give in to platitudes like "we are only looking after the...." as it is mindless blah blah blah so they don't have to change what they are doing. Jocelyn does not have to see the nurse for anything. If she is competent in checking her blood and determining sliding scale dosages for meals then support her right to do so.

I fought this battle alone. My parents were working countless hours to help defer the brutally high cost of having 2 children with T1. They told me I could not bring needles to school unless they were kept in the nurses office. I ignored them. Never got in trouble for it but I think it was because they feared my father. If your child was being physically abused you would be locking and loading and going to war. Psychological abuse can do more damage than physical. Go get em mom!