kids going home when they really don't need to

  1. I'm very new to this, so maybe I am handling it wrong. I have several frequent fliers, and some of them will not listen to me when I try to explain that they need to stay in school, that there is no need to go home (minor pain in leg, sniffles but no other symptoms, a tiny scratch on the finger that looks fine, things like that). They will insist I call their parents, and about half of the time the parent is able to convince them to stay. The other half, they immediately say they will come pick them up. It really makes me sad that kids are missing class time for no good reason.

    Any advice?
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   kidzcare
    Sometimes parents are enablers. You could try telling the student that you will call mom/dad and let them know that Snowflake is not feeling well. Then call the parent after the student has left the office and say something like "Hi Mr/Mrs X. This is Nurse over at ABC school. I wanted to let you know that Snowflake was in my office complaining of [headache, sniffles, itchy elbow]. There's no fever or anything that makes me think he/she needs to leave school but Snowflake was insistent that you be made aware (with a laugh in your voice, they know their kid). I think he/she will be just fine in class but I will let you know if he/she returns or if there are any changes."

    Having the child back in class is important because then the parent is picturing them back in the learning environment and not looking all sad in the health office. Also, if the child is in your office, he/she will probably be asking to talk to mom/dad and they can be pretty convincing for a sympathy pick up.

    ETA: This phone call also heads off the student running home and telling mom/dad all about the mean nurse who wouldn't call the parents
  4. by   iggywench
    I 'm in a high school, and I tell the parent/student that since I am not sending the student home, it is an unexcused absence. Most of them care about that, especially if they have already gotten a letter home about attendance, or are trying to keep their absences down in order to exempt from final exams. Another thing is that we let the attendance clerk know if we are sending a student home, or it is an elective pick-up. If it is elective, only the parent or guardian is allowed to pick up the student, not an emergency contact.
  5. by   nurseshellyRN
    True. I have tried the "I will call your mom after you go back to class" thing, and sometimes it works but sometimes they are not having it. Thinking I need to be more stern. I did that last week for the snowflake with the cut that she was insisting on going home for, she finally did leave my office crying. I felt bad for making her cry (didn't yell or anything, not sure exactly what made her cry besides the fact that I wasn't letting her go home), but I knew there was no way I would feel good about her going home because of a tiny cut.
  6. by   nurseshellyRN
    Quote from iggywench
    I 'm in a high school, and I tell the parent/student that since I am not sending the student home, it is an unexcused absence. Most of them care about that, especially if they have already gotten a letter home about attendance, or are trying to keep their absences down in order to exempt from final exams. Another thing is that we let the attendance clerk know if we are sending a student home, or it is an elective pick-up. If it is elective, only the parent or guardian is allowed to pick up the student, not an emergency contact.
    That is a good point and something I have not considered (unexcused absence if I am not the one sending them home). I do worry about attendance, and with frequent flyers I will comment on how many days they have already missed this year, but that doesn't really matter to elementary schoolers. Will make more of a point to mention it to parents.
  7. by   ctate
    Quote from iggywench
    I 'm in a high school, and I tell the parent/student that since I am not sending the student home, it is an unexcused absence. Most of them care about that, especially if they have already gotten a letter home about attendance, or are trying to keep their absences down in order to exempt from final exams. Another thing is that we let the attendance clerk know if we are sending a student home, or it is an elective pick-up. If it is elective, only the parent or guardian is allowed to pick up the student, not an emergency contact.
    Same here. I am at the high school level.
  8. by   WineRN
    Quote from kidzcare
    Sometimes parents are enablers. You could try telling the student that you will call mom/dad and let them know that Snowflake is not feeling well. Then call the parent after the student has left the office and say something like "Hi Mr/Mrs X. This is Nurse over at ABC school. I wanted to let you know that Snowflake was in my office complaining of [headache, sniffles, itchy elbow]. There's no fever or anything that makes me think he/she needs to leave school but Snowflake was insistent that you be made aware (with a laugh in your voice, they know their kid). I think he/she will be just fine in class but I will let you know if he/she returns or if there are any changes."

    Having the child back in class is important because then the parent is picturing them back in the learning environment and not looking all sad in the health office. Also, if the child is in your office, he/she will probably be asking to talk to mom/dad and they can be pretty convincing for a sympathy pick up.

    ETA: This phone call also heads off the student running home and telling mom/dad all about the mean nurse who wouldn't call the parents
    I do this, but there are a few parents where I will just slip a note to the teacher to put in the students folder at the end of the day because I KNOW if I call, no matter what I say, they will come up and get them early.
  9. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from nurseshellyRN
    I felt bad for making her cry (didn't yell or anything, not sure exactly what made her cry besides the fact that I wasn't letting her go home).
    You didn't make her cry. Plainly she has found this to be effective in the past.

    My first two years it really bothered me that kids couldn't stay until the period where we count them (that's second period for pete's sake....) Then I realized that I cared far more about this than the parents did. And several parents made it really clear that they didn't want to be reminded of our absence failure policy.

    You're using your nursing judgment. That's why they pay you!
  10. by   peacockblue
    A lot of it has to do with your admin support. I have so many kids show up in my office after already calling home to let me know that's parent is on their way. I have moms calling me to tell me little darling texted them that they are not feeling well and could I call them down so they are ready when Mom gets there. My admin is fine with this. All these absences are excused. My district is quite afraid of the parents. I used to fight this battle but not anymore. I put my energy into things I can control and make a difference with and leave those I cannot change.
  11. by   Windchaser22
    I think its an age old problem. In comparison to the entire school body, I only have a few. Mine are all under 10 so for those few and a a couple of new K students who are away from home for the first time, I leave it up to the parents. The one thing I will not do is argue or negotiate world peace with the kiddo. Document everything and move on.
  12. by   Txschoolrn
    I have a k-12 school with over 1200 students. I guess I am a mean nurse because if they aren't running a fever, vomiting or having diarrhea, I let them rest and send them back to class. I use my nursing judgement of course and will call the parents if the student truly looks miserable. I treat them as would my own kiddos and I know it is important for them not to miss school unnecessarily. If a parent calls me that a student has texted them saying they are feeling bad, I tell them to text the student back and say (1) go to the nurse's office for her to treat you and (2) you aren't supposed to be using your phone during school hours. I have had parents come into my office looking for their child because their little darling texted them saying they aren't feeling well and of course I have no clue because they didn't come to me. . I tell the parents the front office can help call the kid out of class and they can sign them out up front as unexcused. I am lucky that my administrators do support me though.
  13. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from Txschoolrn
    If a parent calls me that a student has texted them saying they are feeling bad, I tell them to text the student back and say (1) go to the nurse's office for her to treat you and (2) you aren't supposed to be using your phone during school hours.
    OOOH That's good. I'm stealing that.
  14. by   Flare
    i will call the parents of the children that insist that they need to go home but I will preface the call by telling the parent that their little babe is complaining of whatever and i am seeing no fever, looks fine, no vomiting, whatever and that i see no reason for them to be picked up but that i was letting them know what was going on, that their child felt they were too sick for school and that the final decision was up to them.

    Most of the time the parent is thankful for the call and send their little one back to class... well actually most of the time i leave a voice mail saying to call me back and send them packing.

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