Head Injury Complaint ~ What else could I have done?


In my district mass vision and hearing screenings are performed. Basically 500 students in 2 days with lots of volunteers. Teachers are asked on these days to treat minor complaints in their classrooms but to send head injuries and major injuries to the gym where I am. A student presents with about a 3/4 inch laceration to the back of his head. I take him back to my office clean the laceration and stop the bleeding. Then call his mother to let her know that he slipped in the bathroom, hit his head and sustained a laceration to the back of his head.I asked her to come and pick him up and take him for further medical treatment. It looks to me like he needed stitches? Bleeding was stopped by this point. I escorted the student to the front office, where he was allowed to sit and wait for his mom, who was 10 minutes away. The head injury seemed benign with no s/s of a concussion just a laceration. The policy is that volunteers cannot be left alone with students (even though half were parents). Needless to say I was in a rush to get back to the screenings...Mom complained that I did not monitor her child, even though I called her right away to pick him up and provided what treatment that I could. I was more comfortable letting him sit and wait than dragging him around with me...What do you think?....I am always so offended by complaints. I think my principal knows that I try very hard to keep everything together...Should I have just taken him with me?

If she was only 10 minutes away, I think you did fine. He probably didn't feel like being dragged around or going to the gym where it would have been loud and noisy. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. Mom was probably just nervous and anxious and took it out on you.

Flare, ASN, BSN

5 Articles; 4,431 Posts

Specializes in school nursing, ortho, trauma.

I am assuming he didn't sit in the office alone and that if his condition changed that the office staff would have called you. Sure, I can see the mom's gripe, but it's not like you left him in the office so you could take lunch - you were engaged with other students and made a professional decision that the child was stable and capable of being minded by other staff so you could continue your screenings. Try not to take the criticisms too harshly. You're always going to meet up with Mama bears that will never be satisfied with you. Try to let it roll off you.

Jolie, BSN

6,375 Posts

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health. Has 37 years experience.

I assume that the rule regarding supervision of adults with students is to prevent possible inappropriate contact between adults and students.

In that case, the principal or secretary could have "babysat" the large group in the gym while you monitored the child awaiting pickup. Even in the ER, he certainly did not have full-time 1:1 care with a nurse, so I'm not saying that you were wrong to leave him in the care of another staff member.

But I would have placed him at a higher priority than a room full of healthy kids being screened.