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skwirlfixer skwirlfixer (New Member) New Member

Privacy when calling parent about sick child

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My 8 yr daughter has been dealing with issues from what is a traumatic injury to her perineum which required 2 surgeries to repair.  She's having BM issues and was in nurses office. I received a phone call saying that she had pain and wanted to come home. I asked the nurse to let me speak with her and I was told "I'll put you on speaker phone"  I told her not to as the questions I wanted to ask my daughter were private. The nurse told me that she does not allow students to use her phone as she does not want the flu, and put her on speaker. I told her once again, please take me off speaker I want to speak to my daughter privately and was again denied. I then went to the school to see my daughter and manage the situation.   Can anyone please tell me if there is any privacy act that would cover phone calls?  While I was there I had to listen to other parents talking to their kids on speaker. I don't think this is fair to any child. I cannot find anything specific in HIPPA or FERPA.  Seeing other posts regarding privacy with head lice checks etc, I've seen that go on as well right in front of other students. I've seen kids with bloody noses sitting on a bench, others lying on cots in full view, obviously ill and waiting for pick up.  I have to deal with the nurse regularly since my daughter takes daily meds. I'm hesitant about kicking the bee hive but feel strongly that I should be allowed to have a conversation with my daughter with out a room full of kids/adults hearing it.   Before I approach the school principal I would like to find information that would back up my thoughts that she is not considering privacy especially when specifically asked for from the parent.  If this is normal practice, please let me know as well. Thank you. 

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I don't agree with the nurse, she should have let the girl use the phone.    You are right, you should have been able to ask your daughter the embarrassing questions without even the nurse listening in.   The flu comment was entirely spurious.   Was this actually an RN or just some clerk put in the health room.

The question would be whether there were other non-clinical (teachers, other students) in the room.    I don't think HIPAA (note spelling) or FERPA guarantee you a private conversation with your child other than barring disclosure outside the staff.

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I would have been furious. I would have gotten off the phone and called back on the main line and politely requested the secretary to fetch my daughter to the phone for a private conversation. 

If they would not comply I would go up the chain of command, and probably make a formal complaint. 

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Not normal practice...Everyday I have kids speak to parents "privately" in my clinic on my phone. I preface the conversation with, "here is XYZ...when you are finished talking don't hang up so we can talk about a resolution." GEEZ...what a buffoon. Sorry skwirlfixer...this isn't the norm with school nursing.

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If the nurse was worried about germs, she could have wiped down the phone with an antibacterial wipe.

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Thats not right.   Like Daisy said, wipe the phone down with a sani wipe when a child is done if you are that scared of germs!  I would definately bring it up to someone higher up.  You have a right to talk to your child privately or at least away from the ears of random students/teachers.  

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i will say, that when i call home to say that Sally is sick and wants to come home due to cough, cold, fever, vomiting diarrhea, etc, then i may be more apt to use my speaker phone function if there is a conversation that needs to take place (but i don't always do this, especially if the office is packed).  However, this is clearly not the case with your daughter.  This is a girl in pain with a sensitive and very private issue.  This isn't the run of the mill cold that I don't want to share.  I also keep a jar of cotton balls and a dispenser of alcohol right next to the phone and wipe it down regular regardless.  Her using the phone privately should not have been an issue at all.  Is this issue known to this nurse?  Like was it her regular nurse?

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I can't confidently say that there are laws that cover this, but I always let children speak to their parents without speaker phone.  I keep Clorox wipes next to my desk and wipe immediately, keep my phone up at high volume so I don't have to press it against my face, and I've gotten sick from these kids exactly 0 times in my 1 1/2 years of school nursing.

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The majority of us would, I suspect, prefer for you to be on speakerphone with sweet baby. However, the minute you ask me, the nurse, not to do that, I would - but I would also expect that we'd get back on the phone so you could tell me your version of what will happen. Not that your kid would lie....but some do. Sorry this happened. You've been given good advice - go up the chain, and if you have grace to spare, don't yell at the nurse. 

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Even with those instances where I know the kiddo is ok and just wants to go home early (or even just to get reassurance from their parent), I don't make them speak to their parents on speaker phone. Like Daisy mentioned above, there's no harm in wiping the phone down after the student uses it to help ward off any germs. But considering she wasn't calling home because she was sick, the fear of "getting the flu" from an otherwise healthy child is absurd!

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NO that is crazy!! I let kids use my phone all the time, I just wipe it down with a Clorax wipe after each use. I would be livid if that happened to my daughter. 

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