- Sponsorship -

Support Staff Ready to Respond to Students’ Medical Needs

During a back-to-school first-aid training session, Comstock Park Public Schools teacher’s aide Mandy Rodriguez learned how to administer an EpiPen, a device used to inject epinephrine to stop an allergic reaction that leads to throat swelling and can be life-threatening.

She said it’s nice to have the information in case of an emergency.

Comstock Park Public Schools nurse Tina Rodriguez said covering students health-care needs requires ‘constantly being on your toes and on guard’
Comstock Park Public Schools nurse Tina Rodriguez said covering students health-care needs requires ‘constantly being on your toes and on guard’

“Usually (support staff personnel) are the first ones that have to respond,” she said. “This session helps us help the child and respond as well as we can.”

The more trained professionals the better, said Comstock Park Public Schools nurse Tina Rodriguez. She’s seen a lot in her years treating students: out-of-control diabetes, seizures, anaphylaxis and concussions. But because she spreads her time among all the district schools, she can’t be the first responder to every medical need.

The longtime nurse hosted a session for about 20 support staff members to teach them to recognize high or low blood sugar, anaphylaxis and asthma symptoms, and how to respond when a child experiences those conditions, as well as seizures, diabetes, complications, an asthma attack or a head or neck injury. It’s an extension to training secretaries.

Oftentimes, it’s the aides who are on the playground or in the cafeteria when a child with a peanut allergy eats a peanut M&M or starts wheezing, or when a fall from the jungle gym results in a broken arm. So Rodriguez is also arming them with as much information as possible to be first responders.

“It is important for them to feel comfortable and be knowledgeable making that initial baseline evaluation of a student, whether it is related to an injury or an asthmatic student needing to use an inhaler,” she said.

Forty-nine students in the district have life-threatening allergies, 24 take medication for seizures and many are asthmatic. Rodriguez is employed through Spectrum Health, which places nurses in districts based on risk population and need.

“Support staff members also often work in special education classrooms where there are often medically fragile students,” she said. “The most important skill I can teach is to know when to seek additional medical help and assessment.”


Spectrum Health Advocacy Program

SNN article on School Nurses

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting facets of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2013. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


The year of learning differently

SNN asked a sampling of students from across the county how it’s going for them so far in a school year of multiple instruction models...

‘I want it to look happy’

With help from generous donors, elementary teachers worked to make welcoming, kid-friendly space while following the rules of social distancing and sanitation...

New VP says ‘It feels like joining a family’

Aaron Romoslawski is the new vice principal of Sparta High School. He takes over for Stacey Rumsey, who was named Sparta High School principal last spring...

The changing of guard – as long-time educator and AD welcomes a new one

Godwin Heights Football Coach Brandon Kimble will take over as the district’s athletic director when Robert Hisey, dean of students and athletic director, officially retires Nov. 2...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Student athletes glad football is back, after trying other sports

Some student athletes briefly competed in other sports, such as tennis and cross country, after fall football was canceled. Now they’re happy to be back on the gridiron...

In class, online, both? Parents, students wrestle with choices

Students, parents, teachers and others share their feelings about the start of this school year...

Comstock Park offers hybrid or all virtual options

After surveying the community, the district settled on a hybrid option: Students will be divided into two groups and attend school on Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU