School Nurses Fight to Block Unlicensed Injections
The ADA position says that "because there's not a nurse in every school, effectively the licensing laws should be ignored," Cones says. "What's next? If a nurse doesn't have to provide medication in accordance of state law are gym teachers going to be providing physical therapy?"
That "what's next?" statement gets to the heart of the real issue that should be worrying to nurses everywhere: Ruling that anyone can administer insulin cheapens and devalues not only the practice of nursing, but also the clout of its own licensing authorities.
"The hallmark of any true profession is the ability to regulate itself. If the ADA prevails, the board of nursing will no longer be able to decide who is qualified to administer any medication," Cones says. "It erodes the profession of nursing."
Nurses are naturally protective of their turf and are trying to preserve school nursing jobs. Some people might see irony here because this fight is being waged at the same time that nursing unions and advocates are lobbying to extend scope-of-practice laws in many states. Nurses with advance practice licenses rail against physician groups who want to keep them from practicing without physician supervision.
However, in my opinion, this isn't it's an accurate parallel. Secretaries and teachers and janitors aren't healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses so it's like comparing apples and oranges. I know how to do my daughter's PT stretches and I'm sure lots of people could be taught how, too, but I still expect a licensed physical therapist to provide her PT her in school. She's entitled to that under law.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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