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Parent questions after hours, bothersome?

Pediatric   (1,212 Views 6 Comments)
by sahmof2 sahmof2 (Member)

727 Profile Views; 15 Posts

I was wondering if you get frustrated with parents calling when you are on call after office hours. When I have questions about my kids (medicine, illness, signs of illness), I always try to call during office hours. But, we all know that sometimes things start after hours that I have a question about. I am hesitant to call sometimes about something that I have a question about like medicine or a new sympton that comes up because I feel like the nurse may feel like it could have waited until the next morning. I only call about sickness questions that pertain to that time. When I have other questions that I know can wait I write them down and ask the doc during qppointment times. Our ped office has the on call nurse pick up messages on the hour so if it is not an emergency they will call you after they pick up the messages. I don't want to be the parent that the nurses feel like calls about every little thing. I just don't want to give the wrong medicine or miss something that should signal that the illness is more serious and I need to do something then and not wait until the morning. I was just wondering how you all feel about it.

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2,617 Posts; 8,907 Profile Views

I took call for pediatricians for more than a year. I did not mind the phone calls because I was paid $5 to say one of two things: 1) call the office in the morning or 2) go to the ER.

Nurses are not allowed to diagnose or practice medicine so there really is a limit to what we can say. If I could help in a few minutes then we both benefited.

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3 Followers; 36,785 Posts; 96,984 Profile Views

I knew somebody who worked the phone line and she said they had a protocol for answering questions and no matter, she only worked during her shift. I totally agree with telling the person to go to the ER or call in the daytime to make an appt, perhaps a same day appt, if avail. If your doctor wants to go above and beyond then he should have an employee that wants to fill that role or he should be available for the calls himself.

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NBMom1225 specializes in Surgical/MedSurg/Oncology/Hospice.

248 Posts; 6,455 Profile Views

For medication-type questions after office hours, I always call the 24h CVS pharmacy up the street. The pharmacists are usually the best source for common med questions anyway. I usually call the doctor's office after hours when I'm debating if I should take them to the ER or not, such as when my kids end up vomiting every 45 min all night long!:uhoh3:

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15 Posts; 727 Profile Views

My main question is does it bother you to tell someone to call the office in the morning or to go to the er. The only times I call is if a new sympton comes up (that I am asking do I need to go to er, can I treat at home with otc med, wait and see approach, call 1st thing in the morning, or with non-medical things like a steam bath, take outside, sleep up right, etc.) or I need to know doseage of otc med because the weight is not listed on the bottle and the weight has changed since the last time I used it. I do not ask for a diag because I know the nurse does not have my child or the chart in front of her and that is not her job. Thanks for your replies.

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santhony44 is a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in FNP, Peds, Epilepsy, Mgt., Occ. Ed.

1,703 Posts; 7,077 Profile Views

I take call for a pediatric clinic; I'm an NP so I can give advice.

I have a lot of patience with new moms and newborns- even at 2 AM. I cannot, however, give you a new WIC prescription for another formula at 2 AM.

Things I don't have patience with: asking for prescriptions. I don't call in antibiotics, sight unseen; I don't call in meds for vomiting or diarrhea. I will call in an asthma med but remind the parent to take care of business during office hours.

I don't have a lot of patience with "my child has a fever" but the parent doesn't have a thermometer. I can't do much with a fever if I have no idea of the degree.

I don't have a lot of patience with being woken up for things that could very well have been taken care of during office hours, or which can be taken care of when the office opens again. The only time I've really "lost it" with a parent was a man who called at 4:30 AM with an 8 year old with a cough for a week "and the medicine isn't helping." No asthma, no fever, just a cough in an otherwise healthy 8 year old. My boss, bless his heart, told the man the next day that the call system was for emergencies and continued abuse would cause it to be discontinued!

I also don't have patience with people who call and then keep interrupting me when I'm trying to tell them what to do. I once told a dad "Sir, if you are going to call me at 2 o'clock in the morning, you need to listen to what I'm telling you!" Twice. The second time he got it.

I would suggest the book Your Child's Health by Dr. Barton Schmitt. It can be an excellent resource to help you know when to call and when you can wait.

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