By Tammy Moore Teague
Today, Wednesday, November 14 is World Diabetes Day and the Mansfield School District’s Nurse, Nina Jones, RN, hopes to bring continued “awareness of diabetes, its prevention and complications and the care that people with the condition need.”
So what is World Diabetes Day and why is it significant? November 14 is a significant date in the diabetes calendar because it marks the birthday of the man who co-discovered insulin, Frederick Banting. Banting discovered insulin in 1922, alongside Charles Best. On December 20, 2006, the United Nations passed a resolution to designate November 14 as World Diabetes Day.
Essentially, diabetes is about the body’s ability (or lack of it) to produce the required amount of a hormone called insulin to control glucose levels in the blood. There are broadly two types of diabetes: Type 1 requires daily administration of artificial insulin by means of injection or insulin pump. “Type 1 Diabetes is when the body can’t regulate blood glucose levels on its own. Their bodies (pancreas) does not produce enough or any insulin. Children with type 1 diabetes rely on multiple daily insulin injections or pump infusions every day,” Jones added.
Type 2 is more generally managed by a combination of dietary control and medication in the form of tablets. “Type 1 diabetes should not be confused with type 2 diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in adults, and usually associated with lifestyle factors, such as body weight. Persons with type 2 diabetes can sometimes eliminate or control their blood sugar with exercise and lifestyle changes. Type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle, and it cannot be prevented or cured.”
Jones, who is currently working at the elementary school, has been with the district for 21 years. She has served as a nurse at all three campuses and as school-based clinic coordinator. Jones, a MHS graduate, “feels a deep connection to the people, students and community. I get a great sense of fulfillment from helping the students who pass through my doors. These children will be here long after I am gone, and the care we give them and teach them is what will help them in the future.”
“We currently have two type 1 diabetics at MES (that I help assist),” stated Jones. “It is much different managing diabetes in children vs. adults. Most adults are capable of managing most of, if not all of their diabetic regimen. With children you have to make sure and do the finger sticks, carb counting and insulin dosing for them until they reach an age where they are able to do some of it themselves. Eventually, over time as they reach adulthood, they will be able to manage their own care. However, while they are young and in elementary and middle school, the school nurse will oversee most of their care during the school day. It is very important for the school nurse and the student’s family to work close together in order to try to keep the child’s blood sugar in a targeted range.” Jones concluded.