Confidentiality

  1. I am quite a distance down the hall from the front office, I am actually in a suite with the counseling office. There is quite a bit of traffic in our area. So many kids, teachers, parents that look in my door and see and hear what is going on. Drives me crazy!!!

    The front office will send parents down who basically want a conference with me at the worst times (slammed busy, passing meds, on the phone with a parent.) These parents come in and expect me to drop everything for them. They will stand at my door and listen to my conversations even when I ask them to wait outside until I am available.

    I am not talking about parents here to pick up an ill child or to drop off meds. I am talking about the ones that want to talk to you 30 minutes because they are upset that their kid's teacher would not let them use the restroom or they got a letter about immunizations and they want you to explain it to them line by line.

    I have even passed the secretary in the front office to take a student out to their car in a wheelchair and will have a parent waiting for me in the clinic when I get back.

    I have asked my admin to at least have the front office call me to see if I am available before sending them down. It was poo poo'd by admin - front office is too busy to call me.

    Am I wrong in thinking that student care and confidentiality takes precedence over meeting with parents over non-urgent matters??? Parents aren't allowed to go in and out of classrooms while there is teaching but it is ok for the clinic???

    I have thought about keeping my door close but there is no window and with the amount of traffic I have, it would be nonstop opening and knocking.

    I am really not looking for solution, I just needed to vent a little.

    Everyone else in the building can be at lunch, or in another meeting or unavailable but the freaking nurse!!!!
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    About SchoolNurseTXstyle

    Joined: Feb '09; Posts: 564; Likes: 2,446

    16 Comments

  3. by   KeeperOfTheIceRN
    Actually, HIPPA is just as important as FERPA, soooooo...maybe your admin needs to be reminded of that??
  4. by   ruby_jane
    You're not wrong, or overthinking. I personally never shut my door because I want "witnesses" to whatever goes down in the clinic (or someone to come running if I'm yelling).

    It is absolutely not your job to be at the beck and call of a parent absent an emergency. It is inexcusable for an administrator to say that the front desk is "too busy" to call. But they are, and perhaps that's enough reason for you to want to leave? If not (devil you know being better and all) here are my thoughts:

    Use the words "violation of student privacy" in an email requesting that a procedure be developed for drop-in situations.

    Consider setting a chair out in the hall for the parent to wait. Use the words "unsafe practice" in describing what happens when nurses are interrupted during med pass.

    Essentially do all that you can to show that the administrator is creating liability by not letting the parent remain in the office for five freaking minutes!
  5. by   OldDude
    Every morning when I come in I put one of those tri folding privacy curtains at my door. I put one section in contact with the hinge side of my doorway and put the other two sections perpendicular so as to form an "L" shaped entrance into my clinic. Although this doesn't stop all of what you refer to above it has greatly reduced the incidence; especially impulse visits by parents and others who have no business in here.
  6. by   Flare
    the thoughts of a parent sitting in my office while i'm not there is horrifying to me! Confidential records! Paperwork that may be on my desk! The thought that I might have left my computer screen open to my email. Uh uh -nope. When I leave i lock my door.
  7. by   Amethya
    I ask parents to wait for me in the front office until I can speak with them, or sometimes I ask them to stand outside the hallway for me. If it's getting too much I would ask for a meeting with admin to work together on a solution for this issue.
  8. by   JenTheSchoolRN
    Quote from Flare
    the thoughts of a parent sitting in my office while i'm not there is horrifying to me! Confidential records! Paperwork that may be on my desk! The thought that I might have left my computer screen open to my email. Uh uh -nope. When I leave i lock my door.
    I do as well. Admin installed a passcode lock on my door and I love it. Only a few people know the code. I'm also in the basement, my cave as I call it. A lot of the time that is very isolating, but it also means I am never ambushed, so to speak. All visitors must be met at the front door (we have a small office there we call our Welcome office with a few chairs outside it) and I am called when a parent wants to speak to me. My admin is awesome - they always says "do you have a moment to talk to so-and-so" and if I can't or I need them to wait, they handle it like a pro. I know I am very lucky.

    As for a solution, ruby_jane has some great points. Maybe set up a "parent waiting area" outside or near your office. And someone should be calling you if they let a parent into your office - privacy, privacy, privacy! Reminder that all it takes is one other parent to sue because a random adult walked in on your private consultation with their child.
  9. by   WineRN
    Quote from ruby_jane
    Use the words "violation of student privacy" in an email requesting that a procedure be developed for drop-in situations.

    Consider setting a chair out in the hall for the parent to wait. Use the words "unsafe practice" in describing what happens when nurses are interrupted during med pass.
    I agree with every Ruby Jane said and especially above. Sometimes you need to use words/phrases they recognize like "violation of student privacy", "violation of FERPA" etc.

    Maybe close your door during med passes and phone calls and have a sign saying "STOP! Please do not knock or enter, Confidential meeting in progress!" (I know a med pass isn't a meeting really but, you get what I mean) I bet after a few days of parents coming back to the front office to say you are unavailable will get the front office on board with just taking the 3 seconds to call you.
  10. by   Amethya
    You can print a sign out! I got this at Etsy for $5 and it's printable. There's a school nurse option but I choose this one.

    whereisthehealthaideredandbluerevised-1-jpg
  11. by   scuba nurse
    Can you ask the front office staff yourself, to call you before sending down a parent? Mine does this, which is very helpful in small space. Hopefully you have a good relationship with the front desk people.
  12. by   AdobeRN
    Quote from scuba nurse
    Can you ask the front office staff yourself, to call you before sending down a parent? Mine does this, which is very helpful in small space. Hopefully you have a good relationship with the front desk people.
    My front office will do this. They always call me - sometimes I tell them just to send parents on into my office and there are times I have them wait in the front office/foryer area until I have cleared my clinic of kids.

    I always give my front office peeps a heads up on those parents that are difficult - the front office kindof already knows who those parents are anyway - I will come to them in the front office so I can have witnesses if needed and if we need privacy I can pull them into the principals office or principals secretary office.
  13. by   Amethya
    Quote from AdobeRN
    My front office will do this. They always call me - sometimes I tell them just to send parents on into my office and there are times I have them wait in the front office/foryer area until I have cleared my clinic of kids.

    I always give my front office peeps a heads up on those parents that are difficult - the front office kindof already knows who those parents are anyway - I will come to them in the front office so I can have witnesses if needed and if we need privacy I can pull them into the principals office or principals secretary office.
    I agree, ask Front Office to help out. Mine does this, they call me and tell me a parent is outside. If I have students or something is going on, they'll take care of them or let them know to wait for me.
  14. by   SchoolNurseTXstyle
    Thanks for all of the great ideas. I am going to document, document, document specific scenarios and go back to admin in a few week with that plus specific info about Ferpa,Hippa and examples of how things can get started on social media.

    I have been here a few years. Prior office staff were wonderful about stopping parents in their tracks. New front office staff that are always just "too busy" to do their own job and admin not wanting to make waves with them.

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