So over the hygeine talk So over the hygeine talk | allnurses

So over the hygeine talk

  1. 0 Came in this morning to an email sent 12/27 requesting I speak to a student regarding his hygeine. Really? I have done it every year for 4 years. His living environment is not conducive to good smells. I know this has been discussed numerous times, this is just a vent!
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. Visit  Flare profile page
    #1 1
    i say you can only lead a horse to water so many times.
  4. Visit  Cattz profile page
    #2 7
    Quote from Flare
    i say you can only lead a horse to water so many times.
    Hmmmm...then after while, you just push the horse in the pond??!!
  5. Visit  bluebonnetrn profile page
    #3 3
    So... in a somewhat related question.... How exactly do you handle this talk? I just had a teacher send a kid to me by saying "the nurse asked to see you". Actually I did not and on top of that had no idea and so when the kid came in and said I wanted to see her I told her (truthfully) no I didn't. Well, then they decided to let me know and sent her back. She's also a kid that I NEVER see so I couldn't even make some reason up on the fly. (Hearing and vision checks are all done so that would maybe work in the beginning of the year but not now)
    What exactly do you say? "Well your teacher said you stink bad so she sent you down here". If they are in the clinic for other reasons and I notice a smell or I have some history from the teacher that there have been issues, it's very easy to just slip info in in a non-confrontational, conversational way. But when you send them for no other reason? I just see that as a recipe to humiliate someone.
    We do address hygiene through our maturation curriculum but that addresses the students all together and does not single anyone out.
    Another thing - if you are their teacher, can you not just pull them aside and say something? You have more of a relationship with them than I do.
    So how do y'all address it?
  6. Visit  Farawyn profile page
    #4 2
    Teachers will NEVER address it. It is not in their contract, and anything body related or awkward falls on the nurse.

    I just try to be as gentle as possible, then I follow up with a call to the parent.

    It does suck. I feel so bad for the kid.
  7. Visit  Cattz profile page
    #5 4
    I have gotten to the point of pretty much not have that talk. I kindly explain to the teacher or whoever notice the smell, that it first needs to come from them; as my experience has been that it is more humiliating for the student for me to talk to them with second hand knowledge. If that doesn't work, I tell them to call home. If there is no medical issue that I can help with, I don't generally let myself get drug into this situation.
  8. Visit  Flare profile page
    #6 1
    Quote from bluebonnetrn
    So... in a somewhat related question.... How exactly do you handle this talk? I just had a teacher send a kid to me by saying "the nurse asked to see you". Actually I did not and on top of that had no idea and so when the kid came in and said I wanted to see her I told her (truthfully) no I didn't. Well, then they decided to let me know and sent her back. She's also a kid that I NEVER see so I couldn't even make some reason up on the fly. (Hearing and vision checks are all done so that would maybe work in the beginning of the year but not now)
    What exactly do you say? "Well your teacher said you stink bad so she sent you down here". If they are in the clinic for other reasons and I notice a smell or I have some history from the teacher that there have been issues, it's very easy to just slip info in in a non-confrontational, conversational way. But when you send them for no other reason? I just see that as a recipe to humiliate someone.
    We do address hygiene through our maturation curriculum but that addresses the students all together and does not single anyone out.
    Another thing - if you are their teacher, can you not just pull them aside and say something? You have more of a relationship with them than I do.
    So how do y'all address it?
    Well, this would create a Hallmark moment between myself and this teacher. Now, given a moment's notice I can be very direct about hygiene, yet still very nice about it. And on top of that, it's a conversation that I choose to have with student's with a little discretion. I certainly don't want to tell a kid "you need to bathe" (the nicest way possible) in front of a room of their peers. Kids are cruel enough on their own. They don't need to be given ammunition.

    So onto your question: There is no script. I too, try to be gentle. Maybe discuss changing bodies if the child is of age of puberty. If I don't know too much about the kid, i gently try to find out about home life - is there running water, hot water for bathing, a lot of people in the house, is it difficult to get toiletries. I always have a few deodorants on hand for children. They are welcome to them if they need them. Same thing with toothbrushes. In fact, if i check a student's throat and notice decay, i will always ask if the student has a toothbrush. I am shocked at the amount of times they tell me no. They leave my office with a handful of toothbrushes and a phone call to a parent telling that they need to get to a dentist NOW.
  9. Visit  schoolnurse61 profile page
    #7 3
    There is an interesting issue going on with one of the health room assistants and guidance counselor at an elementary school in my district who a parent is attempting to sue on the grounds that they talked to their daughters about hygiene without the parents permission or presence. The parent is alleging that the children were bullied about hygiene and the parent feels there are no issues related to hygiene. there in fact is a fact finding hearing early February. My guidance counselor and i are hounded constantly about Joey and Susie smelling, having dirty clothes, hair, teeth etc and the teachers expecting us to wave our magic wands and fix it all. MY very supportive principal asks the teacher point blank if the smell inhibits their ability to teach.....the answer is usually no and she says then proceed w your lessons and move to the other side of the classroom if you have to. My hygiene talk days are over and it will be interesting to see how this hearing goes in February. Feel bad for those involved though.
  10. Visit  bluebonnetrn profile page
    #8 0
    Yes, that is somewhat of the issue here. We are not a title I school. We do have a few kids here and there that may qualify but the majority here are very affluent. Not only that, but they are, how shall we say this.... used to receiving a certain level of service. In other words, they complain incessantly about every little thing. I can see this going badly very easily.
    That is the part of the point I am trying to make to the teachers.
    I have offered to give short hygiene lessons to the class as a whole that could address the issue without singling anyone out. So far, I've got no takers.
    Also, I don't think this has been a chronic issue with this particular student. Why would you escalate the situation over a one time or even a once in a while thing? I know that this family does not have problems with access to water or personal care items. I mean, I have forgotten to wear deodorant a time or two.
    But yes, I am concerned about parent complaints (in general - not just with this particular family)
  11. Visit  Blue_Moon profile page
    #9 1
    We are a Title 1 School and this is a big issue in our school. The teachers drive me crazy over this. We ask the teachers to first have a general hygiene talk in their room first about bathing, wearing clean clothing, brushing teeth/hair, etc. Then I ask the teacher to talk to the student if still an issue (which it always is) and they "say" they will but it's obvious most aren't because they send them to me with a sealed note asking me to talk to the student about hygiene yet the poor child is always told just drop this off to the nurse so they get blind sided. We also send a whole class letter home to parents about keeping their kids clean to prevent disruption of learning process due to odors. After that, we will sometimes call parents or even have a conference. The parents come in smelling just as bad as their kid. We ask if they need help with laundry, detergent, etc. I've learned some people just don't have good hygiene and it doesn't bother them so they don't change. We've provided laundry services, place to clean up, free shampoo and soap and did any of these family's change? Nope. It's their way of life. I'm in a grade school. The one girl I've talked to so much and I'll ask when she had her last shower and she'll say she's had one last night and one in the morning and even washed her hair yet her hair is greasy and she stinks. I'll offer clean clothes and she'll say these are clean when there are obvious stains on them. We provided her with new shoes and I asked if she needed new socks and she said no but when she took off her shoes her socks were MUDDY on the bottom. She did let me give her new ones so her new shoes wouldn't get dirty. I honestly don't think she smells it because she always looks shocked that someone feels she smells bad. However, we've heard her house stinks too. I think she's so used to it that it doesn't bother her. We've even referred some families to CPS in the past due to living conditions but nothing ever happens. The problem is these kids don't have many friends because they smell so darn bad but the parents either don't care or just are worried about bigger things. It's sad and I don't know what the solution is but I don't think picking on the kids constantly over it is helpful either. It's such a sensitive topic and I truly hate broaching it with student or parent because I haven't found one who has changed yet.
  12. Visit  JustRNingAlong profile page
    #10 0
    They've already given the names of 2 students that I need to speak to as well. I have no idea how to approach it either.
  13. Visit  canoehead profile page
    #11 1
    I saw an article recently about a school that got a washer and dryer donated, and absenteeism went down...I'll look for it.
    Whirlpool is giving washing machines to schools to raise attendance - Business Insider
    Here
  14. Visit  Flare profile page
    #12 3
    Quote from Blue_Moon
    We are a Title 1 School and this is a big issue in our school. The teachers drive me crazy over this. We ask the teachers to first have a general hygiene talk in their room first about bathing, wearing clean clothing, brushing teeth/hair, etc. Then I ask the teacher to talk to the student if still an issue (which it always is) and they "say" they will but it's obvious most aren't because they send them to me with a sealed note asking me to talk to the student about hygiene yet the poor child is always told just drop this off to the nurse so they get blind sided. We also send a whole class letter home to parents about keeping their kids clean to prevent disruption of learning process due to odors. After that, we will sometimes call parents or even have a conference. The parents come in smelling just as bad as their kid. We ask if they need help with laundry, detergent, etc. I've learned some people just don't have good hygiene and it doesn't bother them so they don't change. We've provided laundry services, place to clean up, free shampoo and soap and did any of these family's change? Nope. It's their way of life. I'm in a grade school. The one girl I've talked to so much and I'll ask when she had her last shower and she'll say she's had one last night and one in the morning and even washed her hair yet her hair is greasy and she stinks. I'll offer clean clothes and she'll say these are clean when there are obvious stains on them. We provided her with new shoes and I asked if she needed new socks and she said no but when she took off her shoes her socks were MUDDY on the bottom. She did let me give her new ones so her new shoes wouldn't get dirty. I honestly don't think she smells it because she always looks shocked that someone feels she smells bad. However, we've heard her house stinks too. I think she's so used to it that it doesn't bother her. We've even referred some families to CPS in the past due to living conditions but nothing ever happens. The problem is these kids don't have many friends because they smell so darn bad but the parents either don't care or just are worried about bigger things. It's sad and I don't know what the solution is but I don't think picking on the kids constantly over it is helpful either. It's such a sensitive topic and I truly hate broaching it with student or parent because I haven't found one who has changed yet.
    This is the exact scenario I find myself a surprising amount. Where Hygiene is just not a part of the child's life and when you meet the family, you realize that everyone lives like this. Mom might shower a little more regular, but the clothes are no more cleaner and Dad might have a great job, but maybe his job doesn't require him to look or smell any particular way. So literally no attention is given to how dirty or clean anyone in the family is. Yes, the water is running. And the child does actually come in once in a while with clean hair - so the potential is there.

    Like i said, you can only lead a horse to water so many times. You can't make it drink - nor bathe. Teachers often forget this. That we can't force them. We can't forcibly give students sponge baths in our offices. And if they are not willing or interested in hygiene, there really isn't a magic combination of words.

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