Today I went to the State House down town to sit in on a Public Hearing with a few classmates and one of our instructors. The proposed legislature was SB 57 (you can read the entire text here) concerning the care of diabetic children in the school system. In short, it states that non-nurses and/or non MEDICAL personnel can and should be able to care for school children diagnosed with type one and type two diabetes.
Unfortunately the hearing was cancelled, and even though I was excited to be able to come home and take off my pants in exchange for ones with an elastic waistband, I am very disappointed to not be able to sit in on this hearing as it is something I care a lot about.
A brief overview of diabetes: Your body produces insulin in the pancreas which helps to break down glucose in the cells and use it as energy. Without insulin, our cells cannot use glucose (the body's main fuel source) for energy. The glucose builds up in the bloodstream and exits through the kidneys into our urine. Think of it as having a major gas leak... you keep pumping all of this gas in your car but it never makes it to where it is supposed to go and you are constantly running out of gas. We don't want our bodies to run out of gas. External/supplemental insulin is then used for people diagnosed with diabetes to help break down the glucose so we can actually use it to fuel our bodies.
Back to the proposed legislature. Basically it states that the injection of the medication is an act that is "not in the practice of nursing." We all know that there are many people diagnosed with diabetes who self administer their medication, who are NOT nurses. I am not denying that administering an injection is something ONLY a nurse can do.
Diabetes is a complicated, ever evolving, many layered, disease that involves way more than "giving insulin." When caring for young or newly diagnosed patients diagnosed with diabetes, you require more than just a "skill" (giving a shot). You require knowledge, history, and judgment that I believe can only come in the form of a person who is formally trained in the subject.
I have been learning about and dealing with this disease long before I was a nurse (my mom's dad was a diabetic) and I continue to learn more and more every day. If you have children, think about them. Would you trust someone to take care of them if they weren't even trained in that field? I completely agree with the Alabama Board of Nursing when they say that by passing that bill, it would lower the standard of care these children would receive.
I know this isn't applicable to many of you (unless you're from Alabama, a diabetic, or a family member of someone with diabetes) but I just wanted to share with you all some of the things that go on within our government. I was not planning on lobbying but our instructor that accompanied us was definitely planning on sharing her two cents and I couldn't be more proud. I encourage you all to do your research on the proposed legislature in your state, you may be surprised and find something that will affect you personally and you may even be so compelled to attend a public hearing and say your piece. You never know who's mind you could change.