In full transparency, the following is a press release from the Massachusetts Nurses Association submitted to SOURCE media. (stock photo)
CANTON – The Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), which represents more than 25,000 registered nurses and health professionals, including hundreds of school nurses throughout the Commonwealth, applauds the decision by Governor Charlie Baker to veto House Bill 5052, An Act Providing for Diabetic Management in Schools,” which would have allowed unlicensed school personnel to administer insulin and glucose monitoring tests for children with Type 1 Diabetes who are unable to self-administer these treatments.
“The Governor’s veto recognizes the complexity involved in diabetes management for this vulnerable population to assure the safety of the students and the need for school nurses and other medical personnel to have direct oversight of this process,” said Katie Murphy, RN, president of MNA. Murphy is a Framingham resident.
In a joint letter to the Governor the MNA, along with the Massachusetts School Nurse Organization, underlined the serious concerns of school health professionals in seeking his veto of the bill, stating “Type 1 diabetes is rising and affecting younger and younger students. Managing it is very complex, requiring professional clinical skills to calculate the carbohydrate intake, insulin requirements, impact of exercise, “sick day” modifications, etc. The symptoms of high and low blood sugar levels in some children are similar; this law would have required a school staff member, who is untrained in assessment, to clinically assess the child for an abnormal glucose level or a myriad of other concerns that the non-medical school personnel are not trained or licensed to assess. These are the skills of a clinical professional, i.e., the school nurse, working with the endocrinology provider.
“As school nurses we play a vital role in caring for all students, but especially those students with complex medical conditions, including diabetes,” said Karen Roberto, RN, an MNA member and school nurses with the Medford Public Schools. “We appreciate Governor Bakers understanding of that role and his effort this week to protect it for the good of students throughout the Commonwealth.”
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 25,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.