School Nurses Identified By CDC As Leaders
As the country struggles with how to address the childhood obesity epidemic, schools are increasingly being asked to be a frontline participant in battling the issue. In addition to revamping school lunch menus and vending machines, some schools are implementing BMI programs to monitor the situation since they have access to the vast majority of American youth.
According to the CDC’s Executive Summary on Body Mass Index Measurement in Schools, schools are taking BMI measurements for surveillance and screening purposes. Surveillance results are typically kept anonymous and can be used to track overall trends in different populations. Screening results are typically intended to be shared with the student and parents to help them take appropriate action.
The report outlines that programs should adhere to a number of standards intended to protect students. These standards include, but are not limited to, making sure staff is trained, maintaining accurate equipment for the measurements, and accurately calculating and interpreting the data. School nurses are noted as being ideal personnel to lead these types of programs and train staff, due to their education and background.
To reduce the risk of harming students, BMI measurement programs should adhere to the following safeguards:
(1) introduce the program to school staff and community members and obtain parental consent,
(2) train staff in administering the program (ideally, implementation will be led by a highly qualified staff member, such as the school nurse),
(3) establish safeguards to protect student privacy,
(4) obtain and use accurate equipment,
(5) accurately calculate and interpret the data,
(6) develop efficient data collection procedures,
(7) avoid using BMI results to evaluate student or teacher performance, and
(8) regularly evaluate the program and its intended outcomes and unintended consequences.
BMI Measurement Resources for Nurses
CDC's Executive Summary on Body Mass Index Measurement in Schools>>
AAP's Report on BMI Measurement in Schools>>
American Osteopathic Association votes to encourage schools to have life-saving AEDs
According to a recent press release from the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the majority of cases of commotio cordis — a sudden cardiac event occurring after a blow to the chest — happen during youth or high school competitive sports, such as baseball or football. This deadly condition currently has a low survival rate of only 15%. With that in mind, the AOA House of Delegates voted this past July to encourage schools to have readily accessible automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
"AEDs can buy young athletes time until medical professionals arrive on the scene," said pediatrician Stanley E. Grogg, DO. Grogg is associate dean of clinical research and a professor of pediatrics at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa.
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents more than 100,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students. It serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities.
The AOA joins other organizations such as the American Heart Association and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation in bringing awareness to the need for CPR and AED Programs in public places.
AEDs May Be Required By Law
Many states have passed legislation to require AEDs in certain public places, or encourage AED programs. Find out if AEDs are required by law in your state using this helpful AED Legislation Tracker from Cardiac Science. You can search by state for AED laws, AED legislation and Good Samaritan laws that have recently passed or are current bills moving through the state legislative process.
Young Athletes Can Be Saved
In addition to commotio cordis cases, sports exertion can trigger undiagnosed heart conditions in seemingly healthy young people. In these situations a nearby AED, and bystanders ready to use it, can make the difference between life and death.
In September of 2011, a seventh grade football player collapsed on the field at his school near Fort Worth, TX after tackling another player. Fortunately, Azle Junior High School had an AED in place. Coaches, a school nurse, and a member of the Fort Worth Fire Department came to Alex's aid, starting CPR and applying the AED, which assessed the heart’s condition and automatically administered a shock. Alex's heart was re-started by their quick actions and the use of the AED.
Less than one week later, he was back at school and able to call the coin toss for his team's game. His school told the local CBS station that it was ordering more AEDs to have them available for all sporting events. The Powerheart G3 AED used in his rescue had been donated by Laura Friend and “Run for Sarah” in 2006.
That same month, a senior at Rudder High in Bryant, Texas, experienced sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed in the fourth quarter of a game. The school's athletic trainers used CPR and a Powerheart G3 AED to revive him. The local paper reported that he was hospitalized and underwent surgery to have a defibrillator implanted. He was back at school later that month to thank his rescuers.
Are you looking to start an AED Program at your school? Does your school need additional AEDs to expand your current program? School Health is the leading supplier of AEDs to schools and can help you implement a program in your school from start to finish.