Nuala Harkin is campaigning to better educate teachers on keeping diabetic students safe at school.
Ms Harkin, a diabetes nurse practitioner and credentialed diabetes nurse educator at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, says that although teachers are willing to support students with Type 1 diabetes, ‘there is a lack consistency among the information schools are receiving’.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Ms Harkin will campaign for national guidelines to help teachers better manage students with the illness.
She says it is unclear who is responsible for educating teachers about the condition, which affects three times as many children aged 14 and under as those aged 15 and over.
Education of school staff is usually provided by a credentialed diabetes nurse, however in Western Australia teachers are responsible for disseminating information into their schools through a diabetes team.
Ms Harkin believes the clinical demands on credentialed diabetes educators are such that they do not have the resources or time to go to schools.
Sydney mother Wendy Domingues, whose nine-year-old daughter Lydia was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year, agrees education is the key to ensuring students are safe at school.
‘Frankly, I have found that teacher knowledge about Type 1 is just poor,’ she said.
‘A nurse educator came and spoke to the staff but we had to wait a few weeks and even then, it was just half an hour.
‘As a nation, we need more education. We need people to know more about Type 1 diabetes.’