Spring has arrived! Regardless of the recent weather forecasts, planning for the end of the school year including kindergarten forms, 6th grade immunization letters, hiring and budget plans, and summer school preparation should be underway.
I’ve just returned home from an amazing opportunity in Uppsala, Sweden. I traveled to Sweden with a group of 14 staff members from Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) for 7 days. The best piece, I have to admit, was traveling with another SNOM member and licensed school nurse from MPS. Together we took part in special tours arranged by the Swedish skolsköterskor (translation: school nurses). We visited health offices, community clinics, regular education and special education classrooms just to mention a few things. We shared discussions on practice issues, role similarities and differences. An overwhelming similarity, despite the global miles, includes the importance of the nurses’ capacity to develop strong partnerships and relationships with students and staff. Within this role is the ever important need for communication. Partnerships, relationships and communication seemed to be the global language.
The Swedish school lunches were fantastic. I’ve attached a few pictures of the everyday school lunch salad bar and the allergen board which compared the food allergens (left column) and the entrée / salad being served at the top (horizontal). The red dot indicated to the students with “laktose’ allergies should not eat the au gratin potatoes.
It is interesting to note that school funding for related services in Sweden, sometimes referred to as “pedagogy” were at risk for cuts on an annual basis. Swedish school nurses faced the same challenges as we do to maintain our positions. In addition, similar to our practices, they have begun to collect data on student encounters and outcomes as the evidence to promote school nursing.
The need to promote the impact of our work for student health and safety is a global issue.
Happy Spring! Mary Bielski Heiman, SNOM President.
SNOM Executive Board Members, Becky Hudlow and Mary Jo Martin attended The Midwest Region of National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) von Willebrand Disease (vWD) Summit in Chicago, IL on April 29 – 30, 2013.
Bleeding disorder organizations from throughout the Midwest - Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin, federally recognized hemophilia treatment center staff and representatives from the National and State School Nurse Associations gathered to learn and network.
Summit organizers knew that too often, when symptoms for vWD are present there is little or no knowledge of the disorder, which results in no diagnosis and no treatment. They realized that school nurses hold a critical position in schools across the nation. More often than not, school nurses are a child’s first stop when they are showing the signs and symptoms, feeling ill, or fear something is wrong. Because of this, they can play a vital role in helping students and their families address a possible bleeding disorder.
Did you know?
• von Willebrand disease (vWD) is a usually inherited bleeding disorder
• It is estimated that 1 in 100 men and women have the disorder The main symptoms of vWD are:
o Frequent or prolonged (>10 minutes) nosebleeds
o Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding
o Bleeding from gums
o Prolonged bleeding from minor cuts
o Easy bruising
• vWD is not easy to diagnose but when it is, there is treatment available to restore quality of life including reduced absences from school and/or work).
• Hemophilia Treatment Centers are the best places to refer students and others for testing. Minnesota has three centers: Children’s Hospital, Mayo Clinic, and at the University of MN.
Please take some time and familiarize your self with von Willebrand disease by exploring these resources and stay tuned for a future SNOM vWD seminar!