Schools sharing nurses worries mother of diabetic child

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August 31, 2006

A Richmond County mother has a diabetic daughter who depends on insulin. She's concerned that her child's school does not have a nurse there at all times.

News 12 is On Your Side with information you need to know about nurses and local schools...and why your child's school may only have a nurse there part of the time.

There are 32 nurses for the 57 Richmond County schools.

Schools like Spirit Creek Middle School share a nurse half of the day with another school.

Jerilynn Blocker has an 11 year old with diabetes who attends Spirit Creek. She calls her child's condition fragile because her blood sugar can spike or drop dangerously low at any time.

"The principal is telling me the office staff, it's not their duties," Jerilynn told News 12. "So whose duties would it be if they don't have a nurse?"

School officials tell News 12 all schools have nurses. Some share and some have a full time nurse.

But Jerilynn's concern is the possibility of her child slipping into a diabetic coma while the nurse is at another school.

"If you are not actually trained to handle these type of situations, who's going to handle it?"

Willis Foreman Elementary is one of handful of schools with a nurse that remains in the school clinic all day.

One reason is that this year, the school has eleven special needs children.

"Those are severe, profound and they have a lot of medical problems, tube feeding, anything can crop up, so we have to have a full time nurse at all times," says principal Dr. Betty Shepherd.

And although there is not a nurse at Spirit Creek all day, should any condition require attention, a nurse is close by.

"What they try to do is place the nurses so they are in close proximity to schools they are working with, so it is not a problem for them to get from one school to another," Dr. Shepherd told News 12.

But for Jerilynn Blocker's daughter, every second counts.

There are different levels the school board evaluates to determine if a school needs a nurse to stay full time.