School Nurses Work Out Compromise on School Health Bill

From the Times:

Potentially lifesaving allergy medication may soon be available to more students, thanks to an agreement reached last week by lawmakers and a school-nurses organization that had initially opposed the proposal due to safety and legal concerns.

The now-amended Senate Bill 5104, likely to be approved this session, would allow schools around the state to stockpile epinephrine, which can be used to prevent or stop severe allergic reactions that can kill within minutes.

School staffers have only been able to inject students who have been diagnosed with an allergy. And the schools cannot currently store extra epinephrine, to be used in emergencies, or use one student’s EpiPen on another student.

Under the amended bill, school nurses would be able to use epinephrine on any student, regardless of whether the student has been diagnosed.

Other school employees, if designated and trained by the nurse, would be able to use epinephrine on diagnosed students.

The amended bill would not allow all school employees to use epinephrine on undiagnosed students, as an original version approved by the state Senate allowed.

A leader of the School Nurse Organization of Washington, a volunteer professional organization that promotes quality school nursing, said that would conflict with a state law that prohibits nurses from delegating the responsibility of diagnosing ailments.

The organization opposed the bill’s original version, sending a letter to members of the state House Education Committee, because of the provision on non-nurses giving epinephrine to undiagnosed students.

The bill now moves on to the House.


Anonymous said…
Since most schools do not have a nurse on premises full time, this legislation makes sense.

Schools also need to do a better job of being sure classrooms and cafeterias are -at minimum- nut free. And someone on field trips is trained, legally able to give an epi shot, and has an epi along. The district is very lax about assuring this happens. Emergencies can and do happen at any time and in any place.

Anonymous said…
I doubt it is possible for schools to make sure that cafeterias are completely nut free-- how could they be sure each lunch was prepared with no nuts without an inspection of all ingredients? But they can provide nut-free tables that are kept clean and free of nuts.
-has kids with allergies
mirmac1 said…
How is ST going to twist that into blaming that evil union again? I won't know because I no longer read the Times.
Anonymous said…
In an ideal world, the people crafting the bill know all the players, and make sure to consult with them first. If someone doesn't know all the ropes, things like this can happen.

The fact that the school nurses opposed the original bill, but worked with legislators to amend it, is the way these things are supposed to work. Our oldest son has food allergies, and the nurses have always trained the teachers and bus drivers how to use an EpiPen at the start of the new school year, so the amendment makes perfect sense to me.

-- Ebenezer
Just saying said…
So true, Mirimac! We stopped ST because of the constatnt campaign to promote I 1240. We considered getting the online version because I like Westneat. After reading the Times slant on unions and school nurses, we decided not to subscribe to the on-line version.
Anonymous said…
So the undiagnosed kid is still screwed if the school nurse doesn't happen to be working that day? If there are trained staff members present, there is no reason to not use an epi. You don't need to be an RN to diagnose a severe allergic reaction. This isn't as much of an issue here in Seattle, but for schools in rural areas this is still unacceptable.
Anonymous said…
At our school every teacher ( i think? at least most) has been trained by the nurse. And many other staff.
-has kids with allergies
Anonymous said…
School nurses nationwide need to have access to emergency Epinephrine Auto Injectors in the case of an unknown reactor, or a known reactor who does not have an Epinephrine Auto Injector, one that's expired, or they need a second dose or epinephrine

Seconds and minutes count during anaphylaxis. Response times from EMS vary from state to state. School nurses need access to this life saving drug.

The National Association of School Nurses has Epinephrine School Resource Nurses in most every state. Check out the information on their site.

Again, I can't stress enough how seconds count and school nurses need access to Epinephrine Auto Injectors.

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