TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR STUDENTS’ HEALTH PROBLEMS AND LIFE-THREATENING RISKS
Teachers have a twofold responsibility during their professional lives: the teaching for which they have trained, and facing health problems or situations that affect students that may have fatal consequences if not solved correctly and urgently.
In Spain, the presence of healthcare professionals at education centres is very rare, there is no information about adverse health events in class, nor is the degree of teachers’ preparation in such cases known.
Identify health problems and complications involving life-threatening risks among students, and teachers’ preparation and perception to students.
Descriptive, observational and cross-sectional study about 250 teachers from education centres in the city of Ciudad Real (Spain) with an online questionnaire devised by the authors.
Socio-demographic variables are related to teaching experience and training when faced with health problems, and Likert-type perceptions of preparation and concern are included.
The teachers’ mean age was 33.4 years (SD±7.3 years), of whom 90.4% (226) were female, and 38.45% (96) had never received specific training in urgent actions.
Among the most frequent health problems they had encountered during their professional careers, they stated the following, which stand out: 33.6% (84) traumatisms that required sutures or plaster splints; 26.0% (65) allergic reactions; 25.2% (63) hypoglycaemia; 21.2% (53) epileptic fits; 12.4% (31) swallowing foreign objects.
During this academic year, 39.6% (99) of the teachers notified they had students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, 26.8% (67) had psychiatric problems, 18.4% (46) had asthma, 18.4% (46) had a coeliac condition, 12.8% (32) had neurological problems, 14.8% (37) were epileptic and 12.4% (31) were diabetic.
Of all the teachers, 67% (168) were very worried that one of these events could take place in their presence, and 48.8% (122) indicated they were poorly prepared to face them; 71.6% stated that a nursing professional available at the education centre to face emergency situations and to deal with students’ health problems would be most relevant.
A high percentage of academic courses are attended by children with health problems, and it is quite likely that teachers will face situations with life-threatening risks some time in their professional career. Teachers are not trained and feel poorly prepared to face them. The presence of nursing professionals at education centres could improve not only students’ quality of life, but also teachers’ occupational quality