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Wasn't the School Nurse right?


I have a friend who has been teaching about 30 years. She was telling me and a group of friends/relatives this story. It is a little gross/TMI.

My teaching friend (we'll call Mary) had a female student who had a massive diarrhea accident in her class. Most of the accident happened while the student was standing. By the time the accident was mostly finished the student was pretty much covered from waist down. This happened in an 8th grade class with about 30 students to witness the whole event from start to finish.

Mary called the school nurse to see what to do. Neither Mary nor the school nurse felt they could send the student to the nurse's office because by this time not only was her clothes completey ruined from waist down but she was standing in a puddle that was about 12 inches diameter. They felt to send the student to the office ( a long way from the classroom) or even the bathroom down the hall would have caused a health hazard and would have greatly embarrassed an already very embarrassed 14 year old girl. Shortly after the students (some had started to laugh loudly and poke fun) were evacuated the student also lost control of her bladder :crying2:.

The janitors (all available ones were needed) and the school nurse brought clean up equipment to the classroom to clean the student. A teacher was posted at the door so no one unauthorized would walk in and the teacher posted at the door also served to block the window in the door. Mary told us that the only clothes that could be saved were her belt and her bra. Everything else had to be trashed (her shirt was tucked into her pants). Even her shoes and socks were beyond saving.

One of my cousins, an LPN, couldn't believe they did the clean up in the classroom instead of taking the student to the bathroom or the nurse's office. Even though Mary tried to explain that liquid feces would have been tracked almost halfway across the school my cousin didn't care. Mary tried to explain that it would have been horrible for a 14 year old girl to have to walk down the hall with any and everybody witnessing this accident and her soiled clothes, on top of the class seing it as well. For some reason my cousin firmly believed that the clean up should not have taken place in the classroom.

I am asking you all, if you don't mind, who was right? Did the school nurse make the right decision? I hope this all makes since and if I left out important details I will try to provide them. I did not witness the accident, but only have Mary's account of it. Mary told us that the girl's mother was very pleased with how it was handled.

BTW Mary had an in depth conversation with the girl's mother about the accident and the mother could only figure that the new depression meds the girl was on caused her to have a very upset stomach, to say the least.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

I think the nurse made the right call. Poor girl. I imagine she was humiliated. Hope she is better today

Tait, MSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Care Cardiac, Education, Prof Practice. Has 14 years experience.

If it were me (as the student) I would have much rather gotten cleaned up in the room and not had to try and walk to the bathroom, especially if all the damage was already done.

Poor girl, already on depression meds and then this :(


Has 1 years experience.

Can i ask what the logic was behind your LPN cousins insistance that the clean up be in a restroom?

I dont start school until Fall, but i would imagine that the psychological implications of forcing this depressed teenage girl to walk the halls of her school in that condition would FAR outweigh any protocal she could reference.


Specializes in ..

Nurse made right call. The LPN is showing a lack of "critical thinking". LPN training directs one to do tasks. The LPN's that are really good develop this skill on their own over time. The ones who go strictly off their training never get past being technicians, therefore, if you have a mess, you clean it up in the bathroom. Your cousin could not have been more wrong.

I agree with Classic and Tait.

My LPN cousin kept saying that the classroom was not the place to do the clean up. She wouldn't be specific. By the time she started screetching I had to leave out of the room because I couldn't take it. I haven't been feeling well.

I know that they tried to send her back to the same school but she was getting teased one way or another by students (even one of the coaches during gym class laughed at some of the joking in front of this girl). The principal was no help about the teasing when the mother complained to the school. The principal gave her the song and dance about "everyone has something embarrassing to happen and the kids will soon talk about something else." Really? Not an accident like that.

I know she had to end up changing schools and that accident actually made her depression worse (Mary lost track of the student and family after the student switched schools).

What a shame. As long as proper privacy was provided for the girl during the clean-up, it absolutely was appropriate to do it in place.


Specializes in LTC.

the school nurse was right. Imo. and ps im a lpn that uses critical thinking everyday. ;) a new one at that.

What a shame. As long as proper privacy was provided for the girl during the clean-up, it absolutely was appropriate to do it in place.

but where's the privacy with a roomful of students?

(did i miss something?)


but where's the privacy with a roomful of students?

(did i miss something?)


They "evacuated" the other students and an adult guarded the door while they cleaned her.

Poor thing, I'm not surprised she had to change schools. I remember having a couple (much smaller) accidents in elementary school that mortified me, I can't imagine in middle/high school, much less one that an entire class witnessed.

School nurse and teacher showed excellent judgement and did the right thing. Get everyone out, get her cleaned up, get her home. Your cousin is just being critical for no good reason.

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

Leslie, the other students were removed from the classroom.

I'm with the school nurse. Besides the embarrassment of squishing down the hallway where there are probably other people present, there would probably be other people in the restroom.

How terrible for the student!

I agree with everyone. I could only give my opinion to my cousin as a parent of 5 who has 3 that will be in school this fall. If this happened to one of my kids and the teacher and nurse handled it like that, I think I would be passing out thank you cards with Walmart gift cards in them.

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

Personally, I think the teacher of the class should have a long talk with her students about what happened, because their insensitive response wasn't ok. What happened to the poor student could have happened to anyone.

There were a few students who were very sensitive, but there were many (those in the class who witnessed it and those who heard about it) who were complete #@^#! This girl ended up getting teased EVERYWHERE. I think the gym teacher and even the principal set a poor example.


Has 4 years experience.

The nurse absolutely made a good call.

I am stuck on the loss of bladder control, though. I just don't see how that could be a side effect of an antidepressant. And the amount of liquid stool is far and beyond "normal" diarrhea. Sounds like there was something more going on with her health.


Specializes in LTC.

She was very right.

Edited by Sparrowhawk

ckh23, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER/ICU/STICU. Has 6 years experience.

I say it's the right call. They removed all the other students and had someone guard the door while she got cleaned up. Let's face it, kids can be very cruel to each other. This child had to be extremely embarrassed to begin with, but then to march her down the hall in front of even more kids who hadn't witnessed the episode could have all kinds of ramifications beyond the one's already happening.

Tell your cousin to to remember when he/she was in 8th grade and the same thing happened to him/her. Would they be able to walk by all of their classmates like that and not be affected?