Hastings, MN: Today's school nurse deals with EpiPens, inhalers, chronically ill kids

Jan 8, 2018, Minneapolis MinnPost: Does your school have a licensed school nurse? You may be surprised by the answer Inside the school nurse’s office at Kennedy Elementary School in Hastings last Thursday afternoon, a diabetic student came in for his routine blood sugar test. It was one of six that he does under the supervision of the on-site nurse, Kim Meier, each day to gauge how he’s doing and strategize for the next segment of his day…. “It’s nice to have the support,” she said, noting she also relies on Meier to help manage the health needs of other students in her class who have asthma and severe allergies. … In a separate binder, she had individual student records noting the specific health-care needs of three kids in need of EpiPens, 15 in need of inhalers, and a handful in need of medications. At the high school, she helps monitor three diabetic students as well. … Eight minutes later, she got a phone call from a teacher, letting her know that a student with Celiac disease had mistakenly been given a bite of a granola bar. … This is the sort of thing that, when a student develops a habit of coming in with repeat ailments but no fever, may end up signaling an underlying mental health issue. … Adding to the list of care ideally administered by a nurse, she noted her nurses have helped make health accommodations for kids with cancer, kids with diabetes, kids who have seizures and — more so at the middle and high school levels — kids who come in with so much anxiety that they’re coming down with a stomach ache or something more severe like hives. “There’s a lot of anxiety out there these days,” she said. “I think school nurses are pretty much on the front line for that.”