School Nurse Memory, is this weird?

  1. When I was in 4th grade, the school nurse called me into her office and told me I needed to start wearing a bra. In my memory, there was another (male!) student in the office in earshot and I was super embarrassed. I remember her doing this kind of loud stage whisper, so I'm sure the other kid heard it. It had never even occurred to me to start wearing a bra because I didn't really have breasts yet. It being the '90s, all I wore was oversized t-shirts and leggings, and I guess someone might have caught a glimpse of my chest at some point. This was quite traumatizing at the time, and one of the few memories I have of that time in my childhood. My question is, what the hell? Is this a common practice? And if it is, for heaven's sake wait till there are no other students in the office to tell a pre-pubescent girl she needs to wear a bra!


    P.S. I should add that I have always been like 99th percentile in height and by the time I was in 4th grade I was probably at least 5'5 or so, so I guess I must have looked more like a grown up woman than I actually was, but I definitely did not have breasts, either.
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    About Nogirl42

    Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 8; Likes: 5

    13 Comments

  3. by   WineRN
    I'm sorry that happened to you.

    I personally would not be ok with handling any conversation like this. IMO you can dress however you want as long as it fits our dress code (Which thankfully is more common sense based where I work instead of focusing on the "distracting" gender). I have staff members here that don't wear bras, and that's their choice.
  4. by   LikeTheDeadSea
    Yikes! Definitely not common practice.

    During Growth and Development lessons I mention that women can choose to wear a bra for comfort, and that it's a good discussion to have with your parent or come to me IN PRIVATE if you want to discuss starting, types, etc.
  5. by   Farawyn
    Are you a nurse, OP, or sharing a memory with us because we are School Nurses?

    I can tell you, I would never do that.
    As someone who did develop when I was 9, I would have been mortified.
  6. by   Nogirl42
    I'm starting nursing school in Fall, I was just reading through this forum and that memory popped up. School nursing seems like a pretty neat gig overall, it's something I had never really thought about but it's interesting reading stories in this forum!
  7. by   aprilmoss
    I can't imagine having the conversation with the student (presence of others or not) directly. This would be a contact I'd make with the parent.
    Telling the child directly would be doubly embarrassing for the child. Once to hear it from me and once having to explain it (if she did) with the parent.
  8. by   Farawyn
    Quote from Nogirl42
    I'm starting nursing school in Fall, I was just reading through this forum and that memory popped up. School nursing seems like a pretty neat gig overall, it's something I had never really thought about but it's interesting reading stories in this forum!
    Good luck to you.
  9. by   Nogirl42
    Thanks, and God bless all you school nurses keepin' it real out there!
  10. by   MHDNURSE
    That is terrible, and I am sorry you had that happen to you. It's funny because my daughter is 10 and the size of an 8 year-old, flat as can be. Beginning in 3rd grade (last year) all of the girls started wearing sports bras under their shirts- all of them. I noticed this across the board with most of the 3rd and 4th graders and when I asked my daughter why she was suddenly asking for sports bras, she said "I just want to wear one under my shirt like everyone else". So I humored her. She does cheer and dance so I think she also likes the fact that she can pull her shirts off and change in front of other girls and not feel exposed. Anyway, I just thought it interesting that all the 8-10 year-olds in my town are wearing them, whether they need to or not.
  11. by   JenTheSchoolRN
    Quote from LikeTheDeadSea
    Yikes! Definitely not common practice.

    During Growth and Development lessons I mention that women can choose to wear a bra for comfort, and that it's a good discussion to have with your parent or come to me IN PRIVATE if you want to discuss starting, types, etc.
    THIS.

    But I'll share this story:

    The first year I was a school nurse I was working with 5th and 6th graders. I had a 6th grade girl that was developing ahead of a lot of her peers and has been wearing a bra nearly all year. We had this "stepping up" celebration at the end of 6th grade every year to acknowledge the transition to middle school (7th grade). This girl was wearing the same style of sundress (it was June and hot) as her classmates. However, it did not look the same on her because her body shape was more mature. (The way it looked at her was a violation of our dress code - which we could debate dress codes to death of course.)

    I had a very good relationship with this student and the principal knew this and asked me to "talk" with her and see if she would wear her sweater during the ceremony (the principal was sensitive about the issue and did not see as a dress code violation and didn't want to treat as such so thought going to me would "help.").

    Oh, this was awkward. I was a first year school nurse and didn't feel like I should have this conversation. I was debating this a lot in my head when the student did came see me on her own, wanting to check in as she had noticed that other people were, her words, "looking at her a lot." Honesty is the policy in my office and turns out she was aware and felt uncomfortable herself. She was open to wearing a sweater and wanted to do so but didn't want to draw any more attention to herself by asking to call home. She and I called her mom together and mom brought her a sweater. She was very appreciative of the call and the student really appreciated that I was honest. That student and I still have a great relationship to this day.

    Now this exchange was very private and without stage whispers or another student present. Because nope. Never doing that. And as I grew into my practice, I examined my role and anyone's role in this type of discussion. As a school nurse teaching puberty I realized it was important to normalize developent as all kinds. I also realized that conversation would never happen with a student I did not have a good relationship with as well.
  12. by   aprilmoss
    I remember hitting middle school (well we called it Junior High back then) and having to change for gym. I barely had any development there, either but like most of the girls I *had* to have a bra. Only "little girls" didn't wear them. Sports bras weren't quite a big thing back then.
  13. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from Nogirl42
    I'm starting nursing school in Fall, I was just reading through this forum and that memory popped up. School nursing seems like a pretty neat gig overall, it's something I had never really thought about but it's interesting reading stories in this forum!
    I'm sorry this happened. It's not common practice, as you can tell by our responses. Best of luck to you! When you become a nurse...remember what not to do. You'll see good and bad practice. Learn from both.
  14. by   That O'Hara Girl
    I had that happen to me, except it wasn't a school nurse, it was one of my classmates (a girl). I really wasn't even developed yet, and what makes it weirder is that she actually was a little bit too developed at that age.

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