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Parental supervision on ped floors(m)

endoblues endoblues (New) New

My child recently had a 5 day hospital stay. I feel it is important to be with my child 100% but I ran into a situation which I asked the nurse if she cared to stay with my child for 5-7 mins(at best) so I could run to the kitchen to get milk for my child who was all hooked up to varies wires. Was it wrong or rude of me to ask, I knew I wasn't going to have other family support for several hrs and my child needed to be fed. Nurse was compliant but I would imagine nurses already do enough and I'm sure they rather not "babysit" on top of their other duties. During this time the nurse was getting ready to do vitals and such and I thought it would be a good time to run out while my child was "supervised" even if it wasn't "family". For some reason I feel so guilty leaving my child for such a short time. The rest of the time someone was always there. I saw some children who didn't have family members with them and were really little. I don't know the circumstances but it was upsetting to me. Anyway do any of you get upset if a parent asks you to keep an eye on their child for a short time with a meaningful purpose?

TIA

I worked on Peds Oncology floor and we looked after kids all the time. We often would have a child whose parent was not there for hours at a time. Mind you, that was taken into account in our staffing. Imagine an active 2 year old with a central line hooked up to at least 4 IV lines :eek:

I think that the nurse should have definitely been more supportive. You only wanted to get something for your child and was thoughtful enough to do it when it suited her best. I think she should be ashamed of herself!

babynurselsa, RN

Specializes in ER, NICU, NSY and some other stuff.

Do not feel guilty for leaving the room for a moment. Some parents are barely even seen when their children are inpatient. It was very courteous of you to plan your trip to the kitchen while the nurse was in the room doing her routine cares.

It doesn't sound like this was a problem for you or the nurse.

It is just the nature of the mom to feel eternally guilty about everything.

Not at all there are children left for hours or days sometimes, not always parents fault. Keep in mind they may be a single parent who is the sole provider and missing work would mean no Health ins, money, food, etc.., So nurses need to keep that in mind. Yes there are the few parents who take advatage their child is in the hospital and choose to expect everything to be done by staff, but in that case, the child comes first, their safety is of the most importance, and it may call for a lot of extra attention to that child, but that is what must be done. So please do not feel bad for asking for a few minutes to watch over your child, so you can get her milk! Nurses are there to help, and should always do so in a caring and helpful mannner! That is why we became nurse! :)

I feel really strongly about this situation. As a tech, I alway make sure that the parents have diapers, milk,food etc. Most times we are given around 12 patients because it is expected that the parents will be taking care of their kids. We are responsible for setting up rooms, admissions vitals, post-op vitals, Q4 vitals, Q2 Input and output, walking out discharges, collecting labs, passing out trays, bed baths,restocking rooms, walking patients to precedures and picking them up, answering call light after call light, making beds, auditing rooms , and so forth. Every time the 2 year old pulls off his electrodes we have to run to the room and stick them back on. Taking bp's on younger kids takes forever because they won't be still. The babies without parents have to be fed and changed - I'm the one who runs to the room when that child cries. Parents are constantly asking me to watch their kids for them while the go get something to eat and I do feel that its rude. If I really like the parent I will do it, but those times I do I fall behind on my charting, miss pages, and someone else's call light goes unanswered - which i have to answer for. Most parents want a "babysitter" around 12 - the same time that 12 o'clock vitals are due, the parent-less baby needs to be fed, trays must be passed and "covering" for another tech goes on. A new admit may come in while the parent is gone, another patient may need to go to radiology, another patient may need to be walked back from MRI. Many people are being discharged at this time as well. I simply do not have the time to babysit for my patients. I'd guess 50% of parents ask for this service and quite often for an adolescent. No one would dream of asking a doctor to babysit - so why should I be treated any differently. It is the parent's job to take care of their child. When I have a few moments to spare I will give the parent a break- but while I'm dedicating my time to one child eleven or more go unattended.

Gompers, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU.

Wait a second here...

I'm a NICU nurse, but I do get floated to Peds and PICU on occassion. I don't understand the problem here. I never once saw any policy saying ANYONE had to be with the child 24/7, be it a parent or a nurse. I've taken care of many kids in Peds and PICU whose parents were not there. That is why there are bubble-top cribs and beds with side rails. I never expect a parent to be there 24/7. So many of my pediatric patients were alone because their parents had other responsibilities - jobs, other children, etc. - and we never made them feel guilty for not being at the hospital all the time. Why would a parent have to ask a nurse to "babysit" her child while she runs and errand? When I'm working as a nurse, I consider that child MY responsibility, not the parent's. I do appreciate it when a parent tells me where they are going so I know how to reach them and when they'll be back. But if a mom told me she had no one to watch her other three kids at home and had to leave for the night, I would in no way judge her or be annoyed by the fact that I now have to keep an extra special eye on that child.

I am just not understanding this thread, I suppose.

Beary-nice

Specializes in Almost everywhere.

I feel really strongly about this situation. As a tech, I alway make sure that the parents have diapers, milk,food etc. Most times we are given around 12 patients because it is expected that the parents will be taking care of their kids. We are responsible for setting up rooms, admissions vitals, post-op vitals, Q4 vitals, Q2 Input and output, walking out discharges, collecting labs, passing out trays, bed baths,restocking rooms, walking patients to precedures and picking them up, answering call light after call light, making beds, auditing rooms , and so forth. Every time the 2 year old pulls off his electrodes we have to run to the room and stick them back on. Taking bp's on younger kids takes forever because they won't be still. The babies without parents have to be fed and changed - I'm the one who runs to the room when that child cries. Parents are constantly asking me to watch their kids for them while the go get something to eat and I do feel that its rude. If I really like the parent I will do it, but those times I do I fall behind on my charting, miss pages, and someone else's call light goes unanswered - which i have to answer for. Most parents want a "babysitter" around 12 - the same time that 12 o'clock vitals are due, the parent-less baby needs to be fed, trays must be passed and "covering" for another tech goes on. A new admit may come in while the parent is gone, another patient may need to go to radiology, another patient may need to be walked back from MRI. Many people are being discharged at this time as well. I simply do not have the time to babysit for my patients. I'd guess 50% of parents ask for this service and quite often for an adolescent. No one would dream of asking a doctor to babysit - so why should I be treated any differently. It is the parent's job to take care of their child. When I have a few moments to spare I will give the parent a break- but while I'm dedicating my time to one child eleven or more go unattended.

Kinda sounding to me like you are on the verge of burnout or something here...so if you don't like me...you will not watch my child for a bit while I go grab a bite and my sanity...makes me sad.

I have worked peds and while there are a few parents who take advantage of staff watching their kids, most parents I have come across just needed to get away even for a few minutes or many did not have alternatives. You know many people have other children who are not sick, at home who need attention, some have jobs that do not allow any alternatives as well. I would take into consideration these issues. What would I want someone to do for me or my child???

To the original poster...I'm glad you were able to work out with staff to get away for a few minutes...that is how it should be. I too would have motherhood guilt though...it can get the best of us. ;)

Beary-nice

Specializes in Almost everywhere.

wait a second here...

i'm a nicu nurse, but i do get floated to peds and picu on occassion. i don't understand the problem here. i never once saw any policy saying anyone had to be with the child 24/7, be it a parent or a nurse. i've taken care of many kids in peds and picu whose parents were not there. that is why there are bubble-top cribs and beds with side rails. i never expect a parent to be there 24/7. so many of my pediatric patients were alone because their parents had other responsibilities - jobs, other children, etc. - and we never made them feel guilty for not being at the hospital all the time. why would a parent have to ask a nurse to "babysit" her child while she runs and errand? when i'm working as a nurse, i consider that child my responsibility, not the parent's. i do appreciate it when a parent tells me where they are going so i know how to reach them and when they'll be back. but if a mom told me she had no one to watch her other three kids at home and had to leave for the night, i would in no way judge her or be annoyed by the fact that i now have to keep an extra special eye on that child.

i am just not understanding this thread, i suppose.

:yeahthat: couldn't have been said any better...you may tend to my children anytime gompers! very thoughtful!

This isn't about parents who have to leave to take care of the childs sibling or tend to other affairs. It's about the parent who wants and expects you to come into the room and physically sit there with their child. I have no problem with a parent leaving - so long as I know when the child was last fed and changed etc.

Look at it from the other eleven parents point of view. They hit their call light because thier child peed in the bed. The light is on for a few minutes and the unit clerk answers and pages me to the room. I don't answer the page because I am fulfilling the parent's wish to stay in the room with that child- the other child is lying in wet sheets. Or a new admit comes in and thier vitals aren't taken for a half hour because I missed the five minutes between when the child first walks in and the when doctors arrive -limiting access to the child. The weight and height of the child isn't measured and then the child codes. What about the child that doesn't get to eat because you are watching another kid instead of passing out trays.

As a military wife I understand what it is like to not have anyone else to care for my child. But I don't expect someone to stop doing their job in order to give me a break.

We offer the parents guest trays, we bring them everything they need for thier kids, milk, diapers, clothing, toys etc. We bring the parents coffee, donuts, snacks and water. I just feel that it is unreasonable for a parent to stop and ask me to sit with thier kid so that they can go out and smoke while other children have needs that are my responsibility to care for. As for the original poster - I would have brought her the milk myself - we don't expect our parents to need to get anything for their kids - we even supply breastpumps! I love and adore all of the children that are in my care but if I babysit for one I am neglecting the others.

Gompers, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU.

Upon admission to the pediatric unit, maybe the parents should be told that it's okay to leave the child alone as long as the crib/bed side rails are up and they let the nurse know they are leaving. When a parent asks if you can sit and watch their child while they go somewhere, why not just say that the entire staff is around and will keep an eye out for the child, but that it isn't necessary to have someone sit in the room at all times? If this issue is addressed from the very start, maybe it wouldn't be a problem and the moms wouldn't feel bad about stepping out for a few minutes.

That's what we do on our peds floor and PICU. From the very start, the parents are encouraged to go and take breaks and understand that they are not responsible for staying with their child 24/7. These kids are OUR responsibility when they're in the hospital, not the parents' responsibility.

Beary-nice

Specializes in Almost everywhere.

I do not get upset if a parent asks me to watch their child. I do appreciate if they tell me that they are leaving, when they might be back and where they can be reached if necessary. I am thinking of the original question posed. And I can understand you being upset at seeing other sick children who seemed to have nobody...there can be many reasons for that. We are fortunate that our peds unit is staffed so that parents that need to leave can do so. I myself also would not have expected you to have to get your child milk, but everywhere is different. Sometimes, you just plain need to get away if even for a few minutes, its hard not to feel guilty about that, I know.

I am not a nurse yet...When I do graduate, I want to work in Peds. I cannot offer my advice on that end of perspective.

But on the other end...the parents side...My son had croop & pnuemonia when he was around 8 months old. He was admitted in the hospital and was put into a tented bed. I did not want to leave him alone because he was so young and he was sick. I was so scared for him (I was a young mother). When the nurses would come in to check on him, they kept telling me to go home and get some rest. They told me they would take care of him if he needed anything. The hospital did not have "beds" for parents to stay in, I slept in the chairs. I am not sure why but can only assume it was so the parents would go home and get some rest.

I guess what I am trying to say in all of this..The nurses here suggested that the parents get out of the room and get some rest. They seemed very concerned for the parents as well as the patient. I always thought that is what pediatric nurses do...take care of children...at least this is what I want to do when I become a .... :nurse:

I guess what people aren't understanding here is that there is a difference between a parent wanting to take a break - which is not a problem - and a parent who wants you to physically sit in the room and watch their child. Of course I am responsible for caring for the child and his response to his illness. But babysitting specifically for one child while the others are unattended IMO is taking things too far.

As far as encouraging the parent to leave, especially in PICU where you can see the child at all times, is okay. But what about the three and four year olds on the regular peds units? The moment the child is left alone they become hysterical. Most of the three & Four year old are okay with healthcare staff until they have an IV put in thier arms or get a blood draw - after that point they lose their trust and really want and need thier parents there. I've seen a four year old get out of bed, peel off his electrodes and pull out an IV in order to follow his mom who went down the hall - in a matter of seconds. I can understand why parents wouldn't want to leave their child alone.

Its sad - but true - that we get quite a few children onto our unit for anorexia. Unfortunately, someone has to be there at all times to make sure they are not purging the moment they are left unsupervised.

The children on a pediatrics unit come from all walks of life, some are drug addicted, some are inmates (they come with a personal sitter), a lot are in child protective custody, some are neglected, many are alone. I'm not a bad person, or a person who doesn't care for the kids, I just simply can't babysit on demand for a parent and feel badly when the parent requests that I do and I must tell them no. (In some cases we have parents who complain to the charge because the tech won't babysit)

We have child life specialists who take the children who aren't on isolation to the playroom or come to the isolation rooms to color or do puzzels with the kids. The parents should leave - if they must- during those times. We also have social workers who are willing to come in if there is a dire need for a parent to leave and the child must be watched. We also have "sitters" for extreme cases where the child is at risk of hurting themselves.

There are other avenues that may be taken in extreme emergencies that don't involve asking the nurse or tech to provide one on one supervision.

P.S. We also have fold-out beds in the rooms.

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

I have been a military wife also for many many years (my sons are now 25 and 20). My older son was hospitalized multiple times in multiple hospitals (both military stateside and overseas) and civilian hospitals stateside. I rarely left him alone especially when he was in ICU. Most peds hospitals that he was at had no problem with me or hubby being present. I would never expect staff to babysit my son. However, I do expect that my son's needs would be attended to. When he was little (toddler) I would not leave him alone ever. However, as he got older (6 and up), yes, I would leave him alone occasionally as I too had to work and hubby and I would rotate our time with him with regards to our work schedules.

What bothers me the most about this thread is those staff that feel caring for these kids is an inconvenience. If that is the case, please consider getting another job.

My son has a chronic disease process and we have truly been fortunate that he is alive and well today (and getting married in November). The care that he received in ICU and in other units of these hospitals has allowed him to live and flourish.

Most parents (even those that are poor and not well-educated) love their children deeply. They may need re-enforcement that their child needs them to be present if at all possible versus they need to stay for the convenience of the staff.

Sorry for this long diatribe but I feel very strongly about this subject.

BTW thanks to all the pediatric nurses who helped my son and continue to care for all our current children. You guys rock!

HididiScribbler

Specializes in NICU.

Just putting my 2 cents worth in here...

I'm a nursing student and plan on being a pediatric nurse once I graduate. Before getting into the nursing program, I volunteered at a large children's hospital near me. As a volunteer, a lot of what I would do is sit with the kids when the parents needed to go get something to eat, get some air, etc. I loved doing it, all the other volunteers loved doing it, we had quite a lot of training for volunteers so we knew what to do and what not to do with the kids. The nurses were busy and although a lot of them would've liked to be able to sit with one kid for a while, it was difficult sometimes to do that, so having me and the other volunteers who had nothing else to do BUT that made it a lot easier. So, if there are volunteers around at your hospital, most of them would probably love to sit with kids for a while.

canoehead, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER.

I am missing the conflict here. We can all probably agree that sitting with a child for 5 minutes shouldn't be a problem. I think the problem comes when someone answers a light and is expected to stop all other activities for an hour while a parent goes out.

If the child only requires someone to look in one them every 15min or so, no problem. If they need 1-1 care, and start crying as the parent is leaving, that is a huge issue.

Back in the day....when I was in peds I had settled my charges, somewhat, and the ER was on the way up with a new admission. The mom of a 2 month old called me in to complete a feeding so she could make a phone call. If she hadn't been there, or had told me she needed to leave even 5 minutes beforehand I could have juggled enough to have worked it out. And what phone call suddenly needs to be made immediately. I tried to suggest politely that she make the phone call after she finished what she was doing, but it went over like a fart in church. I said I could help in about 15 minutes, but right then I had someone who needed me- and she accused me of leaving her child hungry, and reported me to the supervisor. I still don't know, after 15years, what management or the mom thought I could have done to handle it better. (We had no techs and all the other nurses were just as busy as I was)

vamedic4, EMT-P

Specializes in Peds Cardiology, Peds Neuro, PICU, IV Jedi.

I am missing the conflict here. We can all probably agree that sitting with a child for 5 minutes shouldn't be a problem. I think the problem comes when someone answers a light and is expected to stop all other activities for an hour while a parent goes out.

If the child only requires someone to look in one them every 15min or so, no problem. If they need 1-1 care, and start crying as the parent is leaving, that is a huge issue.

Back in the day....when I was in peds I had settled my charges, somewhat, and the ER was on the way up with a new admission. The mom of a 2 month old called me in to complete a feeding so she could make a phone call. If she hadn't been there, or had told me she needed to leave even 5 minutes beforehand I could have juggled enough to have worked it out. And what phone call suddenly needs to be made immediately. I tried to suggest politely that she make the phone call after she finished what she was doing, but it went over like a fart in church. I said I could help in about 15 minutes, but right then I had someone who needed me- and she accused me of leaving her child hungry, and reported me to the supervisor. I still don't know, after 15years, what management or the mom thought I could have done to handle it better. (We had no techs and all the other nurses were just as busy as I was)

Manipulative parents aren't the norm, but they're out there. And it may only take one thing to set them off, as was perhaps the case in the above situation. I'm almost positive that the woman above has done something like that before, acting as if her baby should have the nurse's undivided attention.

IMO...and this is true anywhere...If you're the parent...it's YOUR responsibility to care for the "basic" needs of your child..even while they're in the hospital. Get up off your ass and change the diaper. Feed your baby. YOU ARE THE PARENT...that's YOUR JOB. Our job is to provide for the medical/nursing needs of your child while they're here. Sometimes our duties overlap, and most of the time we have no problem assisting you. But if your child is stable enough to be on the floor..assuming no immediate issues...you need to be the parent and get busy parenting. Again, if your child is in a critical care area...the rules are a little different. But if not...you need to get busy practicing those parenting skills.

As stern as that sounds...I do understand that there are times when parents need a break!!! Lord knows many of them deserve it. I, too, know exactly how hard it is to have a child in the hospital and the stresses it entails. But that's no excuse for abandoning your parental responsibilities.

I would hope you had management's support in the matter, and I apologize if you didn't.

Have a great day, all.

vamedic4

Children's Medical Center Dallas

My unit has no techs and the nurse-patient ratio varies from 1 - 6-9 so having most parents there 24/7 is a big (and very appreciated) help for us nurses, doctors and most of all the kids!

However, I totally understand when a parent just needs to get out for a while for whatever reason!

Having a child in hospital is a very extreme, overwhelming experience for a parent and taking breaks even very short ones is just necessary to keep them sane- we always encourage that!

Most parents go for a break when the child's asleep and they always tell us when and how long they stay away.

Also good teamwork and communication with coworkers is key in busy situations!

@ BSN hopefully: your attitude towards the parents concerns me a bit ("if I like the parents I babysit the kid") you should be more aware of the parents needs! They need to rest too! and having a more relaxed parent makes work with the child a lot easier too!

A parent asking us to sit next to the bed watching the child longer than 20 minutes happens very rarely. Most times we leave the door open and drop by a few times to make sure everything's ok.

In my 18 years of life I have had 6 surgeries. I had them at 2, 4, 5, 12, 17, 18. the first four I had someone with me all the time. i mean my mom would sometimes run down the hall to get something from the kitchen. the last two she was there during the day but i was alone at night. in this case i had to rely on the nurse to care for me. at one time i needed water and i did not get it for 30 mins, now i am NOT blaming the nurse I dont know what was happening elswhere so i do NOT resent this, and my roomates friend got it for me (it actually turns out that she was a doc knew one of the resedents who works with my surgeon from medical school). this same roomate when ever her boyfriend or friend was going to the kitchen to get her something they would always ask if i needed anything and would bring it back for me. People just need to band together and help one other.

I had a problem with this when my dd was little, and as a parent who was then a nursing student I want to add my story and opinion.

My dd was in PICU for one week with RSV and while in the PICU I slept in a chair at her cribside, there wsa no bathroom, no shower, I did not recieve a tray I did get a voucher for the cafeteria. The day shift nurses in the PICU were awful, would not even watch her while I went to the bathroom down the hall to relieve myself, let alone actually leave the floor to shower or get food, so i would wait everyday for my mother to bring my son to see me and I would take him to a fastfood rest. and get food and have lunch with my son, smoke, use the restroom and be back in 30 min. to an hour. The night nurses were wonderful and would sit with my dd while I went to another floor to shower (that they gave me directions to, in the hospital fitness center) I never used that oppurtunity to smoke or do anything other than shower and brush my teeth.

When they moved her to the floor the nurses would also not watch her not even for 5 minutes for me to run to the cafeteria for food, and also would not pick up food for me with the voucher, so again I waited for my mother to come and got 30 min to an hours break q 24.

Same nurses tried to bypass the pediatrol(sp) on her IV pump on a kid that was already borderline CHF and when I called her on it she said "these are really not needed, this pump cost the hospital (insert ridiculus amount of money here, but i think she said 200,000$) and I am sure it wont malfunction".......well sweetie I dont give a good gosh darn if the thing cost 200 million dollars its still a machine and can break, you WILL use any and all safety precautions available to you when you are dealing with MY dd. They also woke her up from a deep sleep to weigh her at 2 am, then left our room (isolation) and went directly to room next door with scale did not stop to clean it, and then just as I got her to sleep again at 4 wanted to wake her again to do V/S, which I wouldn't let them do, told them they could count resp and pulse without waking her and would have to come back for temp and b/p.

So for two weeks I ate once a day and spend a total of maybe 14 hours more than ten feet away from my dd.

It was my opinion that these nurses were LAZY(and possibly stupid) not busy. Like several ppl have said parents need (and deserve) a break and need (and deserve) the piece of mind knowing someone is there with their child not at a nursing station down the hall to feel comfortable enough to take one, even if you can only spare 5 minutes that 5 minutes might make all the difference in that parents day, it may be the only time they have to stretch their legs, get food, relieve themselves, practice basic personal hygiene or to just get out of the room and away from their kid who is most likely being tearful, whiny, and clingy. Noone should be expected to stay in a small room with a sick child 24/7 for numerous days without any type of break even if it is their own child.

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