sport_coach_yelling_smallerI planned to write about coach bullying over a month ago. The fact that just yesterday a prominent NCAA women's basketball coach was accused by former players of bullying and emotional abuse, is nothing more than a timely coincidence. Accusations against Boston University's Kelly Greenberg arose after four players quit over the course of the last year - that's 30% of the team. Two of those players gave up $60,000-a-year scholarships. I'll let you interpret the severity of the situation based off of those numbers.

But this isn't about Greenberg or Boston University, or even last year's headlining bully coach, Mike Rice at Rutgers. This is about the fact that coach bullying isn't specific to collegiate or professional athletics - it's present in youth, club, middle, and high school athletics too. Although there isn't a lot of research on the subject, according to one study, "45% of the children surveyed said adults had called them names, yelled at them, and insulted them while they played sports. Even more disturbing, more than 17% reported that an adult had hit, kicked, and slapped them while participating in sports."

"Food allergies." What?! I knew that allergies ran in my family, because I grew up with them, but allergic to food? And not just one food group, but four major food groups, and others too?

A feeling of helplessness and fear came over me when my son Daniel, my third child, was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies at the age of ten months old. The realization that my child could die from eating food was a shock, despite knowing another child with food allergies from the on-site medical day care where I worked as a pediatric occupational therapist and director. Thus began the eye-opening journey of education (mine and others'), label reading, revised cooking, and fear for every new situation that occurred.

We’ve worked with schools for years to consolidate health forms and collect the information necessary to complete a student’s medical record prior to attending school. Some schools collect the bare minimum and some go way beyond. We’ve found a happy middle ground of seven must-haves - the 7 essential components of a student health file. There’s certainly nothing wrong with collecting additional information, but with these items on file, you can be confident you have the necessary records for a student to safely begin school. check-list-web-500x500

  • Consent to treat: The parent, guardian, and/or eligible student should provide you with a signed consent to treat for regular visits and/or emergency events. It’s a best practice to require this form for each and every student.

  • Health history: Nearly everyone is familiar with a health history - you know, the pages and pages of paperwork you fill out every time you go to the doctor’s office. A full health history on file for each student ensures you’re aware of past health situations that could be pertinent to current medical treatment.

Sleep. It's something most of us ironically daydream about more often than actually get.  We are all guilty of it at one time or another; deterring Mr. Sandman for a few more minutes of Facetime. Or perhaps another necessary Facebook post or response. We push ourselves to stay awake and tell ourselves that just a few more minutes on the phone or our tablet in the dark won't do any harm.  But that's where we are wrong. 

goalsFrom tips to help students stop procrastinating, to advice on how to host a healthy classroom celebration, we’ve explored how schools and students can put their best feet forward this year, all while under the helpful watch of the school nurse. Now, the last puzzle piece to our Health Tool Kits is for the parents, whose duties leave them exhausted at the end of nearly every day. It's time to turn the tables and take care of the people who take care of everyone else.

For many high school students, senior year is an exciting time: after all the classes, tests, and extra-curricular activities, the time has almost come for the next big step: college!

There is, however, one part of being a senior that causes a lot of stress for students: choosing the right university.

Selecting a college can be daunting. Not only is the choice important – higher education is the key to a long and satisfying career – but it also reflects the first big life decision that a young person makes, and that can bring added anxiety. 

The “10,000 hour rule” is a rule proposed by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. It suggests that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to truly master a skill such as playing the piano, chess or playing a sport, such as swimming. Today, adolescent athletes are working longer and harder than ever before to get the competitive edge. But it is not always fun and games when training an elite athlete. At some point, most elite athletes struggle with a setback, whether it be a physical injury or a mental roadblock. Coaches must make sure certain actions are taken before these roadblocks can occur. Swimmer1_smaller

Coaches need to be conscious of the physical stress their athletes may experience. They must always educate the athletes on proper technique and the importance of alerting a coach when something doesn’t feel right. I have coached athletes that push through the pain and brush it off, not alerting the coaches to the issue. They are afraid, perhaps, of taking time off or having to tone down their training. On the other hand, I have coached athletes who alert their coach when they experience aches and pains. Coaches need to educate and remind their athletes to have a free flowing stream of communication in regards to any aches or pains that occur. If this does not happen, the swimmer can hit rock bottom and will be unable to train on a daily basis. The physical damage may have already been done to a point of no repair. Physical injury can be preventable, but it also will be inevitable at some point. It is the coach’s responsibility to ensure that athletes know that it is okay to talk to their coach about how they feel.

Thanks to Nina Gervase, Client Account Advocate, for this blog on resources to comply with TX meningitis law updates.  Have you visited It's a source for information on MCV4 vaccine requirements, and if you haven't checked it out, you should. "But why?" you ask. Three reasons. 1. Because it spells out everything that a student or school needs to know in one, concise, clear format....

I am so tired of being ‘politically correct’ – at least when it comes to individual school board decisions on what [condition/disease] would warrant exclusion from school. I’m talking LICE!lice

I raised two girls, who loved having long hair, in the public school system. At the time, I was not yet a practicing school nurse, and the time and expense I personally encountered for several years was truly a big deal. Not only did I spend hours at night combing out nits and shampooing with toxic solutions over and over, we even arranged for our house to be “bombed” by professionals, whose mission it was to execute whatever arachnid-like creature had taken up residence, while we stayed at a hotel for a week. Between the lice bombing and hotel stay, I had a five grand headache. Oh, and both girls got lice again.

Due to the fact that each year approximately 220,000 persons die from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), schools all over the United States are writing and enacting policies to increase SCA survival rate with strategies that will deliver defibrillation earlier than an EMS system. defibrillator

In New Jersey, the bill ensuring that all public schools, which include any of the grades kindergarten through grade 12, make available an automated external defibrillator (AED) on school property is designated "Janet’s Law." This nomenclature is in memory of a student who died of SCA following a cheerleading practice in New Jersey.

This is part 3 of a 3-part series by guest author, Karen Gregory.

In the last two posts we have reviewed how FERPA, and at limited times HIPAA, apply to student records. This last post will review the basic precepts of how the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules protect health information.

The HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, which are part of The Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act, outline protections for specific health information in verbal, written, and electronic format.

Computer security

The Privacy Rule establishes certain patient rights of access and the ability of the patient to direct how their health information may be used or disclosed. Additionally the Privacy Rule describes how protected health information may be utilized to provide healthcare services.

This is part 2 of a 3-part series by guest author, Karen Gregory.

In the last post the players, FERPA and HIPAA were defined, but are there times when student records may fall under HIPAA, or are there times when an institution must comply with both FERPA and HIPAA?

As a quick review, FERPA, The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. FERPA applies to all schools that receive funds under any program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. HIPAA or The Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act, which is another Federal law, is multifaceted and sets standards for protection and sharing of individually identifiable health information often referred to as protected health information.

This is part 1 of a 3-part series by guest author, Karen Gregory.

This week marks an important date in the healthcare community: required compliance with recently published HIPAA Omnibus Rules. But, do these updates impact the protection of, or access to, student health records? This is part one of a two part series on the relationship between FERPA and HIPAA in the educational system.

I was bullied occasionally as a teen. Not physically, not horrifically, and not repetitively by groups of people. But, I was bullied enough to leave a mark that, at the time, made me extremely self conscious and defensive, and today, makes me hyper aware of any bullying I see - in children or adults. I say adults because let's face it, it happens. Thankfully, I'm one of millions who go on to lead perfectly normal, productive lives. But as we've seen time and time again, not every bullying victim is so lucky.

When we meet new people, one of the first questions that arises is, “What do you do?” What. What. What. Where and with whom often come up as well. But the frequently ignored question is, “Why?” Why do we go to work each day? Why do we work at a certain company? Why that job? Why with those people? Why did we make those choices? 


Keeping campers safe – not only is it a part of every camp’s mission, it’s a necessity. I wrote previously on preparing for injuries and allergies in an effort to protect campers. But another aspect of keeping campers safe is administering medication if and when needed. But with an increasing number of medications and complexity of needs among camp populations, the entire process is becoming more complicated. Medications include prescriptions as well as over the counter drugs, so how do camp nurses and health staff keep campers safe with so many campers, medications, variables, and specific administration requirements?camp medication

I had the same question, so I called on Nurse Alice Kimble. As a camp nurse, she has the knowledge and experience to provide insight on keeping campers safe, and to discuss the changes over the years that have added to the complexity of medications and administration.

Not everyone is the parent of school aged children and yet, all of us were the children of parents when we were in school. Whether its three year olds in all day pre-school or college teens far from home, students need their registered nurses.

Just a few days ago, President Obama proclaimed September 2013 as National Preparedness Month. The National Preparedness Goal, highlighted during September, was officially announced in 2011, and remains the same today: “A secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.” ...

Disasters like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes or even terrorist attacks and violent crimes can be petrifying for kids and teens. Children may relate with what they see on the news to themselves and their lives. Could something like this happen to me?  The very thoughts are traumatizing.Coping with trauma and disaster