Area school nurses clarify student medication policy - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/31/10

Area school nurses clarify student medication policy

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By Christie Post - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – When it comes to headaches, most people search for over the counter medication to alleviate the symptoms. You would think school nurses could administer this medicine if your child feels ill. However, Lubbock-Cooper Independent School District says due to budget cuts and liability, they do not allow it. "Any over the counter medication we do not supply for the student because it would be too expensive for the nurses office to supply it," says Pat Coleman, Lubbock-Cooper ISD Director of Health Services. "We supply absolutely none; the child may be allergic to it."

Two weeks into the school year, nurses at Lubbock-Cooper ISD say they have seen an increase in inquires. "As a nurse you can't diagnose the disease, you can't prescribe medication, you can administer it," says Shannon Bourquin, Lubbock-Cooper High School Nurse. "But before you administer it, somebody has to decide that child needs that medication."

Since school nurses cannot diagnose or prescribe medication, policies are put in place for the safety of the child. "We do that so the parent knows the child is taking that medication and it's not on the nurse. The nurse isn't making that decision that yes the child has a headache or migraine and I'm going to go ahead and give that child Advil or Tylenol," says Bourquin.

Other medication polices for Lubbock ISD and some other districts include: parents can only provide FDA approved medications, children cannot carry their own medication and if a medication is administered for more than ten days a doctor will need to give written consent.

"If the parent supply's the medication, they know that medication is here and we know the parent knows it's here, and we know how to give that medication to them," says Coleman.

Cathy Harris, The National Liaison with Texas School Nurses Organization (TSNO), says they guide school nurses in how to outline their own local policies. Harris says they use the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Handbook from 1989 to support their guidelines. However, TSNO says there needs to be a state wide clarification for each school district to have the same policy. They plan to bring this issue for a uniform policy to Washington.

Click Here to see the Lubbock-Cooper ISD Medication Guidelines.

Click Here to see the Lubbock ISD Medication Guidelines.

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