This is my first year as a school nurse...and I love it, for the most part. I'm thankful for this board and so relieved to see that we experience the same issues everywhere! Please forgive me for the long post...
I recently had a little girl who was sent to the clinic for a lice check, and sure enough, had live lice. I've had to call her mom in the past when she had a fever, and I remember it being a huge ordeal to first, get ahold of her, and second, for her to get off work. She begged me to speak to her boss and explain the situation. She works at a grocery store and doesn't seem to have a very understanding supervisor. She also walks to work everyday because she has no car. I called the mom and told her she needed to pick her daughter up due to the lice. She was practically in tears because her boss was going to be upset and she had just arrived at work. She would now have to walk to pick her daughter up as well. She said she had no one who could pick her daughter up for her. She begged me to just keep her in the clinic and send her home on the bus with something (a bag) on her head. I told her that I really couldn't do this, particularly putting her on the bus. I'm not really sure of the district policy, but I assume if they can't be in class, they can't be on the bus either.
I felt really heartless, but I didn't really have any suggestions or help for this woman. I just kept the girl in the clinic, waiting for mom to call back, like she said she would. When I got a moment, I told my principal about the situation, and she said that I should just let her ride the bus home since she came to school on the bus. She said in our school, we have to make exceptions sometimes due to our families' socioeconomic status. Well, I called the mom back, but she'd already left work. She arrived at the school and picked her daughter up.
The next day, guess who's back in the clinic first thing in the morning? Unfortunately, I checked, and sure enough, she still had some live ones in there. Her mom did use lice shampoo and used the lice comb I gave her. She'd also cut off several inches of her hair. So, I called mom's cell phone
and just left a message. I wasn't going to call her job again. I fully intended for the girl to spend the entire day in the clinic and even got all of her classwork from her teacher. Mom got the voicemail though, and surprisingly, came to get her. She did have to call in to work though. She said she spent her last $10 on the lice shampoo the night before, so I told her about the home remedies that I knew of.
What would you do in this situation? I don't want to seem heartless, but obviously this girl can't keep coming to school with lice. The girl said that her mom has it too. I gave her all of the information I have on getting rid of lice in the home, etc., but I'm not sure if she's following through with it. I feel just awful calling this woman to come get her daughter. I'd buy her some shampoo myself, but I'm afraid it will become expected of me. I'm sure some of you more experienced nurses have had situations similar to this. Anyone have any advice? Thanks in advance.