Category Archives: Managing Chronic Conditions

Opioid Overdose: How to Respond

Learn about the opioid overdose epidemic and how you can respond in your community. The Center for Opioid Safety Education Program at the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute provides information on overdose education, naloxone, and getting help at

A section for professionals including drug court, first responders, health care providers, pharmacists, and treatment providers has clinical guidelines and resources for prevention and education.

Watch the informative training videos here for a great overview of overdose prevention and interventions at Training videos.


CDC Report: Increase in Suicide in the United States, 1999-2014

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Responds to New CDC Report

Increase in Suicide in the United States, 1999-2014
According to a joint statement prepared by partners of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, data in the new CDC report underscores why suicide prevention must remain a national public health priority. Read the statement for more from the Action Alliance

School Nursing is a Professional Specialization

School Nurses are often the only health professional in a school building. There are no doctors down the hall to help in an emergency. There are often no other nurses in the building with whom to confer.

There is no one else on the education team who can interpret the impact of health conditions on learning except the School Nurse. In this setting, with the broad diversity of children and their medical needs, it is critically important that School Nurses be adequately prepared.

The additional education enables the School Nurse to evaluate the impact of health conditions upon the student’s ability to learn. The certification program for School Nurses provides professional training in the management of school age populations:

A baccalaureate degree in nursing (BSN) is a minimum requirement for becoming a Certified School Nurse. (Not all RNs hold baccalaureates; some RNs hold associate degrees or go through nondegree programs.) Washington State School Nurses also hold Educational Staff Associate certification.

In order to become a Certified School Nurse, the nurse must have training in:

  • child development
  • child abuse
  • educational psychology
  • school organization
  • working with special education students and English language learners
  • writing 504 plans and participating in the IEP process
  • advocating for students with special needs to access their education while attracting as little attention as possible to that student
  • managing school age populations
  • application of the distinct law governing students’ privacy rights in schools, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)
  • the Washington State Public School Code.

School Nurse candidates must complete a practicum in a School Nurse’s office, much as teachers must complete student teaching and doctors complete residencies.

School Nurse Certification provides for standardization of care among Washington’s school districts. Certification ensures that your child’s School Nurse is prepared to work with the school age population. If your child becomes sick at school, or is medically fragile, would you not desperately want your child’s School Nurse to be adequately prepared?

Source: PSEA

School nurses manage medically fragile children…

See testimony to the Washington State House Education Committee by Lori Miller, Mount Vernon School District, on the importance of school nurses in managing medically fragile children.

Students with Food Allergies Need Emergency Care Plan

A school health plan will identify the types of responsibilities, training and services required to keep your child’s environment safe and how to respond to an emergency, should one arise.

As a parent sending your child off to school for the first time, it is normal to experience a myriad of emotions. Although this can be a time of great anticipation and excitement, all parents have the usual concerns: Will my child like his new school? Will he like his teacher? Will he get on the right school bus? Will the program be one that allows him to grow and learn in a positive environment?

Food Allergies

As a parent of a child with food allergies, you have yet another dimension added to the anticipation and worries of sending a child off to school.

In addition to all of the usual concerns, you will worry about his health needs and safety. What will he eat? How will he be able to participate safely in classroom and cafeteria activities? Will my child get sick at school? Will the school be able to respond promptly to an emergency? Does the school have a full time school nurse? Will the school arrange for my child to be given medicines or special asthma treatments during the school day?

Concerns such as these are legitimate and understandable. You will have to “let go” of your child for the first time, and entrust your child’s health to staff with whom you are unfamiliar. You will have to trust that the school staff will learn to manage your child’s allergies safely, and learn how to respond to any emergency.

How will you ensure that they do it?

The key is to work with the school cooperatively and proactively to create a comprehensive school health care plan. A school health care plan will identify the types of responsibilities, training and services required to keep your child’s environment safe and how to respond to an emergency, should one arise.

The three most common plans used for food allergic children are known as Emergency Care Plans (ECP), Individualized Healthcare Plans (IHCP) and 504 Plans. When registering your child for school, be sure to make an appointment to meet with the school nurse and complete your child’s care plan.

Source: Kids With Food Allergies web site; Written by Lynda Mitchell, MA

Washington school nurse shares her story…

Managing Asthma in the School Environment

Schools can play an important role in helping your child manage their asthma by providing support through an asthma action plan.

The asthma management plan should include school policies on the use of inhalers and medications, actions or emergency procedures staff should take when a student has an asthma attack, and student asthma action plans.

Washington State Law (RCW 28A.210.370) requires that in-service training on asthma be provided by all school districts for school personnel. “The Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Secretary of the Department of Health shall develop a uniform policy for all districts providing for the in-service training for school staff on the symptoms, treatment, and monitoring of students with asthma and on the additional observations that may be needed in different situations that may arise during the school day and during school-sponsored events. The policy shall include standards and skills that must be in place for in-service training of school staff.”

Student Asthma Action Plan

The student asthma action plan serves as an individual management plan for each student with asthma. It provides pertinent information to school officials on each student’s asthma condition. The asthma action plan should contain the student’s medical information, identified asthma triggers, actions to take, emergency procedures, and phone numbers. This action plan should be signed by the child’s physician. Afterwards, the physician, parent or caregiver, and the school each keep a copy of the student’s action plan.

Asthma Action Plan

Share Your Asthma Action Plan

Share your asthma action plan with all the adults who regularly interact with your child at school. These individuals might include:

  • Teachers, including music, art and physical education teachers
  • After-school caregivers
  • Bus drivers

These individuals need to know about your child’s asthma and how best to help keep your child’s symptoms under control.

Stay in touch

Has your action plan changed? Keep your physician, school nurse/health assistant and teachers informed of:

  • Changes in your child’s asthma symptoms or overall condition
  • Medication changes
  • Revisions to your child’s asthma action plan, including your contact information
  • Recent asthma flare-ups or attacks
  • Specific times when asthma triggers may be a greater risk for your child, such as changes in seasons or during times of increased anxiety/stress or physical activity

Be proactive in managing your child’s asthma at school. A team approach is key to keeping his or her asthma under control.

Learn more at the Puget Sound Asthma Coalition.

Source: American Lung Association

Healthy Students Achieve!