New School Nurse CPS situation has arisen


I'm a new school nurse to this district. Secretary tells me that counselor is on phone, counselor at training out of town. Secretary updates me: child in class not doing work, teacher asks her why not doing work. Child says grandpa beat her with a belt for not doing good on progress reports. She shows teacher her bruises. So counselor wants child brought to my office so I can see bruises and for me to ask child what happened.

Child brought to my office. I asked what happened..child says grandpa beat her with belt for not doing good on progress reports. Aunt was in room too and did not help child. I ask her to show me on leg inner thigh...roundish in shape...brownish color, 2nd bruise on on right hip triangular in shape...brownish with yellow edges. Both small in size.

I was informed before all this that child was drama queen, and sometimes made up stuff. Family has experience with CPS, but nothing has become of most of it. Since I am new to area do not know the kids or their families. I thought the person the child told first was suppose to report..which would be the teacher and then I would tell info of what I saw. I may just be inexperienced with this, but don't think this looks like something that is called in to CPS...but I may be wrong. Any suggestions, please


3,828 Posts

You need to report this. In every state in which I have worked, all providers were required to report known or suspected cases of abuse or neglect. Failure to do so might leave you liable.

If you haven't done so, you need to familiarize yourself with your state's mandatory reporting requirements.


905 Posts

Yep I think you're obligated to report.

Doesn't matter if girl is blatantly lying...she made an accusation and it needs to be investigated. Inner thigh bruises are always a scary one too.


7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

Even though I don't do kids, if this were my geri pts, my responsibility would be to observe & REPORT. It's not my job to investigate and make a determination of validity, that's CPS' job.

Make the referral.


203 Posts

Has 7 years experience.

Thank you for the info. There is so much for me to still learn. I am so grateful for sites like this.

Flare, ASN, BSN

5 Articles; 4,431 Posts

Specializes in school nursing, ortho, trauma.

actually, and maybe this differs in my state, but i did't think it did - the school staff member that hears the initial report of abuse from the student has the obligation to make the initial report to CPS. You can certainly be part of the reporting process, i've made many many calls over a speaker phone along with a teacher, chiming in when appropriate, but they are not off the hook because they dump this situation on to you.

NutmeggeRN, BSN

8 Articles; 4,583 Posts

Specializes in kids. Has 40 years experience.

Agree with all the above, I try to make a joint report with another (usually guidance) as well and document everything. You are there to report, not investigate. If the authorities make the decision not to follow through, that is on them, not you.

Specializes in School Nursing, Critical Care. Has 6 years experience.

I have heard the same thing. The officers do not want too any people questoning the potential victim because it may damage the integrity of the investigation. So, when a teacher sends a student to the clinic because of suspicious bruises or report from a student, I tell them I will document assessment only and they need to make the report and give my name as someone who has additional information.

I may follow-up to see if they have made the report at the end of the day and if they are not going to report, then I would report. It is not our duty to investigate or say whether the accusations are true or suspicious. We need to report to CPS and let them do their job.

All of this is assuming you don't feel the student is in immediate danger if they go home. I would handle that in a totally different manner.


206 Posts

offer to make the call with the first person that the child spoke to. You have the obligation to report but many teachers usually will try to pawn this off on you. You should have the person make the initial call with you in the room.


7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

To Op -just thinking about this. This should be well defined in your agency's protocol, if not so already. Maybe this would be a good topic to have brought up at next staff meeting with teachers & ancillaries.

Specializes in School nursing.

Both teachers and school nurses are mandatory reporters in my state. But only one person has to report/fill out the paperwork in the school. My first experience (on my 3rd day as a full time school nurse) with this was when the school counselor brought a student to my office to treat some arm wounds the child said were caused by her mother. Not the first time it happened at school, but we aren't there to investigate; we're here to document and report it.

I treated the wounds, documented my treatment, and counselor filed the paperwork (she filled out the paperwork with the child and me with her; no deep questioning, the process in my state has specific pieces of basic information they need). If the counselor were not there that day, I'd have filed the paperwork per my school's protocol. You need to find out who your school typically has file - they may have something in place.


22 Posts

Has 10 years experience.

The teacher should have reported it. However I would not take the risk of getting fined. Sometimes kids get sent to me just for my opinion on a bruise or a wound and so I can document it.