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"Will You Call This Parent?"

Posted

Has 28 years experience.

How many of you are asked to call parents to let them know about issues observed in class that you have not personally witnessed?

Often a teacher will come to me and ask if I will call home about a particular problem. This week it was multiple tics with one child, and another student who has her hand in her pants a lot during class.

My feeling is that the person observing these issues should be the one letting the parent know. Otherwise I am just the messenger.

I know it is the path of least resistance for the teacher, but I really think they need to be able to talk to parents about whatever is going on in the classroom. I don't mind collaborating with the teacher and parent at some point if needed, but it seems strange that some teachers don't want to make the call.

What are your thoughts/experiences?

SnowyJ, RN

Has 28 years experience.

And no, I didn't call for either issue...I encouraged the teachers to do so.

However, I have called for issues like this in the past. As a courtesy for the teacher.

Blue_Moon, BSN, RN

Has 18 years experience.

I also get asked to make calls all the time. However with things like tics, hand in pants, etc I'm asked to observe it first so I can tell the parents. What do I say to that? I had a teacher upset a student wasn't rushed to the dr when she thought he had tics. She didn't believe me that it wasn't an emergency. I get asked to make calls about their behavior too but that I refuse to do. I will call and ask if they've had their medicine for the teacher since their planning period may not be for hours later and they don't have time.

I've now decided if I get asked to make a call about something I don't witness I'm going to ask the teacher to make the first call and if it continues then we'll go from there. If I'm asked to witness something do you think it's wrong to say, I believe you and it's best you call and let the parent know?

Or I can observe but you still need to call? I've also decided I'm done speaking to students about hygiene issues. It's not fair to the kids at all. They don't tell the student why they're sending them to me then all of a sudden not only do they learn their teacher had a problem with them he/she didn't tell them about, the teacher told someone else who now has to have a talk with them. It's mortifying to them. Also, yet again, I'm not even observing or smelling these issues. I think the teacher needs to call the parent on that as well. However, I know some will think I'm shirking my duties!

Flare, ASN, BSN

Specializes in school nursing, ortho, trauma.

As far as speaking to kids about hygiene issues - i've decided that i'll lead a horse to water once. Beyond that - i don't want to hear it. I can't go to a student's house and personally bathe them. I have made comments to a student while assessing them like "when was the last time you washed your hair" or i've noticed you've been wearing the same sweatshirt for the past few days, is everything ok at home?" Sometimes i'll find that the water's been shut off and they don't have any way of getting a shower or getting their clothes clean. Then that opens the CPS can of worms.

As far as other issues such as staring or tics or whatever, i too will ask that the teacher make the first contact unless i've noticed the issue as well or at least some sort of lingering side effect from it. (staring spell, then came to me a bit out of it). If the teacher is not comfortable or wants to hide behind the fact that it's a medical issue i push back by saying that i haven't personally witnessed it and don't feel comfortable reporting second hand - but that i am more than willing to make the call with them. They should come during their prep and we will call together.

OldDude

Specializes in Pediatrics Retired.

Making calls like that is like making a call for my wife...no matter what information I have she ALWAYS asks me something I don't know or information I didn't think to ask.....Unless it's health related, I have the teachers call.

OyWithThePoodles, RN

Specializes in Med-surg, school nursing.. Has 10 years experience.

I have the teacher call. This is the first year my school has had a nurse so when I first stared I was made to call on EVERY scratch! Two kids bumped heads in the hall-call home. Not only was it annoying to parents to have their work day interrupted saying "Johnny got a blister from the monkey bars", but it also scared them that the school nurse was calling. Such practice has since stopped, but I still have teachers wanting me to call because Sally hit Susie and she has a red mark. So calling the parent, the only thing they want to know is what is being done to Sally for hitting their little Susie, to which I have no answer. So I started telling the teacher, you call parents, explain the situation, that their child was checked out by the nurse, and if they have any questions I will be happy to answer. As far as hygiene and hands-in-pants...you see it (teacher), you call.

kidzcare

Has 5 years experience.

I feel like this falls under the umbrella of "If I can't see it, I can't assess it"

I've had many teachers ask me to call about things and I have a few times but I feel so uncomfortable because I can't answer any follow up questions. And it ALWAYS ends with "Ok, I'll call the teacher!"

Wave Watcher

Specializes in Community Health/School Nursing. Has 7 years experience.

What most people (that includes staff/my family and friends) don't understand is just because I am a nurse does not make me qualified to assess/judge/observe/call about/talk about/advise about/treat/medicate every ailment, behavioral health issue, hygiene issue,nutritional issue and pest control issue!

For the love of all that's holy, please stop asking me to expand my skills/knowledge/license to cover your present issue at this time!

I'm over it. lol

I usually try to get the teacher to call. If I do end up calling I start the conversation with, " Ms. Smith wanted me to touch base with you because she has observed ________________ doing____________________. Please feel free to get in touch with her if you have any questions." Technically I called but I put the burden right back on where it needs to be.

cynmrn

Specializes in School Nursing, Telemetry. Has 2 years experience.

This happens to me ALL THE TIME. I've recently had a lot of issues with kids sleeping in class. Now, I don't mind calling when the kiddo is on meds and it might be a side effect or there might have been a change, but I don't understand why they don't make the first contact and let them know what time of day, what it's impacting, etc. I had one parent tell me, "Well, he knows how to read! If it's during reading time, it should be fine!" Wow....

I am of the same mind that if you are observing the behavior, you should at least make the first contact, and I can try to follow up if it continues (and is a health related issue).

cynmrn

Specializes in School Nursing, Telemetry. Has 2 years experience.

Or I can observe but you still need to call? I've also decided I'm done speaking to students about hygiene issues. It's not fair to the kids at all. They don't tell the student why they're sending them to me then all of a sudden not only do they learn their teacher had a problem with them he/she didn't tell them about, the teacher told someone else who now has to have a talk with them. It's mortifying to them. Also, yet again, I'm not even observing or smelling these issues. I think the teacher needs to call the parent on that as well. However, I know some will think I'm shirking my duties!

Yes, the hygiene one gets to me, too. I had a teacher asking me to talk to fourth grade student about teeth brushing and show him how because apparently he has poor dental hygiene. How am I supposed to broach that subject? Maybe with a kid I have a relationship with already, but just a random new student? I think either the teacher should talk to the student or call home about those issues. I'm happy to instruct if the student says he does need some extra help, supplies, etc. But, not just out of nowhere.

Edited by cynmrn
Adding quote

kidzcare

Has 5 years experience.

Yes, the hygiene one gets to me, too. I had a teacher asking me to talk to fourth grade student about teeth brushing and show him how because apparently he has poor dental hygiene. How am I supposed to broach that subject? Maybe with a kid I have a relationship with already, but just a random new student? I think either the teacher should talk to the student or call home about those issues. I'm happy to instruct if the student says he does need some extra help, supplies, etc. But, not just out of nowhere.

Yes! I have dealt with this issue so many times! Usually a student with BO. Teachers have asked me to talk to them. I feel like it would be even more embarrassing to be called out of class to be told "You smell so bad that your teacher has talked to me about it and you need to wash better and make sure your clothes are laundered"

I had a student last year that smelled-- really bad! I saw him daily to take medication, so I felt fine saying something to him. I said something along the lines of "Oh, did you just come from PE? Why don't you stop in my bathroom and clean up before you go to class!" So it was more of an off the cuff remark instead of two adults talking about him and deciding who should intervene. It never helped anyway. I think it was a laundry issue- mom never did any :dead:

huffmannurse

Has 30 years experience.

Oh heck yes. It has taken me a few years to perfect the wording in my response to these repeated requests. It goes something like this... "I don't mind at all to call mom/dad/whoever. But, they will probably ask me questions about specifics (of whatever the concerning observation was). Since I have not observed this, it is always better for first hand information to be relayed to parent."

That being said, if there is any assessment or other nursing things that need to be done, that is when I step in.

This is also my response a lot of the time, when teachers relay a concern to me about an Abuse/Neglect issue. When it is clear that a Hotline call needs to be made. In Missouri, the teacher that has the concern is accountable to make the Hotline call themselves, not to pass it along to someone else. This is a great change to the wording in the Legislation, as of August of 2015.

Happy Wednesday!

huffmannurse

Has 30 years experience.

What most people (that includes staff/my family and friends) don't understand is just because I am a nurse does not make me qualified to assess/judge/observe/call about/talk about/advise about/treat/medicate every ailment, behavioral health issue, hygiene issue,nutritional issue and pest control issue!

For the love of all that's holy, please stop asking me to expand my skills/knowledge/license to cover your present issue at this time!

I'm over it. lol

Whaaaaaat? This whole post made me chuckle and shake my head. I am sure you took the words right out of our collective mouths!! Thanks.

Most of the time when I am asked to speak to a student about a BO issue, it is a student from a different culture. Some cultures just don't utilize deodorant or the spices / foods they eat stick to the clothes. I am not going to be insensitive to these students beliefs and

customs.

I really want to tell some staff members that if you do not want to be exposed to lice, scabies, strep, bad smells, hyperactive kids, the common cold, runny noses - then why the heck did you become a teacher?????

How funny - this happened last week for me.

One 4th grade kid has had problems with wiping after BM in the school bathrooms and sometimes leaves a mess. I did end up talking to him about how to clean himself better and gave him a package of wet wipes that I purchased for him. The next day he came up to me to say thank you and that he is using them at home and doing well.

Last week the teacher came to me to say he wears the same dirty clothes and has a jacket that reeks of cig smoke and could I please all his family to discuss how the smell bothers kids in class.

Sigh . . . my parents both smoked and I am sure I reeked as well.

I said put his coat outside the classroom to air out - there is a rail under the eaves so it would be kept dry in case of rain or snow. I gave her a DVD to show her class about hygiene.

I'm not calling the parents.