Diabetes health education


(cmanson) #1

Diabetes health education

I don't have diabetes but I am doing some research into how effective diabetes education is in schools, if you have any stories about the diabetes education you have or have not received at school i'd like to hear about them.


(Marldance) #2

Hi Christoper!

Looks like you came to the right place! There was no diabetes education in my school. I was the diabetes education. I can not tell you the number of times teachers asked me to give presentations on diabetes. Honestly I didn't mind very much because I enjoy being an advocate for awareness of my disease. However, I have been in college for 2 years now and I wonder if the kids in my school are learning about diabetes anymore. And even inspite of all the work I tried to do there were still kids who didn't understand basic things like the differences between type I and type II or why I still need to check my blood sugar even though I'm on an insulin pump. In terms of the knowledge of my teachers and faculty, I was lucky to have an excellent school nurse in elementary school who always advocated for me as well as a similarly amazing woman in middle school. They both were excellent at explaining things to my teachers and I did not have any major issues with teachers at this time. However, I did have problems with ignorant students and was teased alot. Rarely was anything ever done about this. By the time I got to high school I was no longer just dealing with the ignorance of students. The school nurse at my high school could not understand how a 14 year old girl who had been administering her own insulin from the age of 6 could be able to figure out how much insulin she needed at lunch on her own. Her own misconceptions about diabetes made things difficult with some of my teachers who didn't always understand why I was "playing" with my pump during class ( I was giving insulin because my blood sugar was high and it was either that or feel crappy for the rest of class and be unable to focus) or why my blood sugar might affect my performance on a test. In this sense high school was a major struggle for me but I managed to do well, participate the activities I enjoyed, and get into my first choice college. I hope that some of this will be helpful for you and please feel free to ask more specific questions if you have them.

 


(cmanson) #3

Thanks for sharing your story with me, I think the lack of trained health professionals and programmes to train health professionals continues to be the biggest problem in schools. I read that the International Diabetes Federation have published a curriculum since 2002 so i don't really understand why things aren't better.

Maybe the schools don't have enough time or funds to utilize the curriculum? I grew up in rural England so the schools where pretty small, (i'm talking 200 students in some of the village schools) and not one student had diabetes, I know for certain that the school I attended was underfunded and remains to be till this day, hence, I didn't learn about diabetes until much later in life.

A competent school nurse can make or break a school, I wonder if it is mandatory for a school to have a nurse on it's staff, or if continuing education is mandatory for nurses as information about diabetes is constantly changing?

Can I ask if your choice to study Psychology had anything to do with your diabetes?

 


(Marldance) #4

I can only speak for the Massachusetts public school system (every state is different) but it is now mandatory for public schools to have school nurses in Massachusetts but only because my parents along with other parents fought for it. I'm not sure what is mandatory in terms of continuing education but in many cases unless you work with someone who's been trained as a diabetes educator you will probably end up misinformed. And in terms of funding the system is a mess as well. The more money the people in a town have the less money the school gets from the state which pretty much means that my schools had little or no funding because the state expected the town to pay for it.

Now about psychology. This initially had nothing to do with diabetes. I actually came to school with the full intention of being a theater major (I had planned to major in theater since probably kindergarten). I did take an advanced placement psych course in high school and while I enjoyed it i never intended to take it much further than that. However, last spring I took and incredible introductory psych course and decided that psychology was something I wanted to continue studying. I am also the advice giver to all of my friends so people were shocked I hadn't thought to pursue this sooner. This fall I went to a lecture about art and Music in the Middle East which got me thinking about starting theater therapy classes for children affected by war or disease so at this point in time that is what I want to do. Music and theater really helped me cope with alot of my issues diabetes related and otherwise and I think that for some kids this will be a great outlet for anger, frustration, and sadness.