Monday, August 20, 2012

Skool nerse time

This is Mrs. Grumpy.

Dear Parents,

I encountered quite a few of you last month, as I got suckered into doing the summer vision and hearing screenings at Douglas C. Kenney Elementary School.

This is basically a volunteer job for the nurse involved. The district pays us (literally) minimum wage to be there. The tests are done routinely during the school year, but, trying to be accommodating, they offer them in July, too. So a teenager flipping burgers over the summer is making the same as the nurse checking his vision. I'm not telling you this for sympathy, but rather to make you understand that I'M NOT DOING THIS FOR THE MONEY. I do it because I care about your kids, and (more importantly) because it gives me a few hours away from mine.

Bringing your child in to get his hearing tested is a good thing. Bringing in his 18 siblings, or even just one screaming infant, defeats the entire process. To accurately test Junior it needs to be QUIET.

Since you apparently don't know what that means, here it is: no other kids playing loud video games, an infant screaming because you haven't changed her diaper in 2 weeks, talking loudly on a cell phone about which movie to see with friends later, eating a bag of extra-crunchy Cheetos, or all of the above. Also, you don't need to change the baby in my small office. There's a bathroom across the hall, and we are not testing your kid's sense of smell. Or mine.

Don't tell me it's okay to do any of these things because the front desk girl told you so. She's the chewing-gum-popping daughter of the woman who works there during the school year, and is too busy texting her friends to pay attention to what you're asking. She's not saying yes, just nodding her head in time to whatever song is playing. 

If you can't sit in here and be quiet, then go out to the fucking lobby and leave me and your kid in here. I'm not going to molest them. You can check my license online. I've never been in jail, gotten anything worse than a traffic ticket, or coached at Penn State. If this option absolutely, positively doesn't work for you, then GTFO and have your precious child tested during the regular year like everyone else.

Next is the vision issue.

I understand you feel Junior looks cool, cute, or whatever while wearing sunglasses. But he needs to take them off to do vision screening. We are not outside in direct sunlight, and hopefully he isn't in the Witness Protection Program. We are inside, under generic fluorescent bulbs. Wearing sunglasses may work for the top 2 Snellen lines, but not when they get toward the bottom.

Also, I'm sorry the eye chart isn't the one your kid fucking memorized from Wikipedia so she wouldn't have to get glasses. We know these games. As hard as it may be to believe, we school nurses were once kids. And most of us have our own, too.

Finally, I am NOT, in any way, shape, or form, responsible for your child being blind or deaf, or you being stupid. The school district is doing this testing free of charge. They are NOT giving out vouchers for eyeglasses, hearing aids, or doctor visits. If your kid failed the hearing test because you just had to bring his twin siblings and their Game Boys, and now you have to pay to go see a real audiologist, THAT'S NOT MY FAULT.

Don't give me bullshit like "the last nurse passed him," "you didn't set the machine right" or "his sister didn't have a problem." I DON'T CARE. Contrary to popular belief, I do not have some sort of personal vendetta against your child (you, maybe, but I won't hold that against him).

Also, telling me that any problem the test found is my fault doesn't fly. You'd think I'd be shocked that so many of you feel I should personally pay for new glasses/hearing aids because "he didn't have a problem before you did the test," but sadly I'm not surprised at all. And no, I'm not paying for them.

Have a nice day.

39 comments:

Gracie's Mom said...

Shocking isn't it. Stupidity has no boundaries.

Jen said...

People seriously tell you to pay for their glasses because you "failed" their kid? Holy crap, I am so sorry for humanity.

Thanks for doing what you do. It's always possible these kids will grow up to be better people than their parents!

Anonymous said...

I used to think I should have gone on to be an NP so I could be a school nurse, instead of working ER. I'm over it now. Thank you.

RehabRN said...

OMG! Just another reason why I wouldn't want to be a school nurse right now.

I don't think I could handle the idiot parents as well as Mrs. Grumpy.

I'd be chanting, "I don't look good in prison orange" a little too much!

Anonymous said...

Dare I say: You need a vacation... ;-)

Anonymous said...

That, sadly, sounds so familiar. Thankfully most of the parents are more rational than that, (although I'm saying that not having dealt with parents all summer, lets see how long that takes to change now that kids are back in school...)
-an elementary teacher.

Anonymous said...

Technically, you ARE going to pay for their glasses (in the long run) because you are EMPLOYED and PAY TAXES and they live off of the government!! They expect everything to be handed to them because that is what they have grown up with and are accustomed to and will NEVER work for ANYTHING in their life. grrrrr...... They are just trying to bypass having to actually go apply for the 'givemes' from the government because they are too busy or it's too hard or too much 'work'.

thethingspatientssay said...

No one else got the National Lampoon reference? I'm getting old.

Anonymous O.D. said...

As an optometrist, I get second crack at these sperm & egg donors. I can't tell you how often I get the excuse "He just wants glasses. He really can see that." Actually, I can check prescriptions without your child saying a word. And the kid can't see. Oh, and to the parents who wait a year or two after your kid loses/breaks/eats his glasses to get new ones to "teach him a lesson"... runner up on parent of the year. I hate back-to-school time.

gloria p said...

Welcome back, we missed you!
Tell Mrs. G I can't sympathize much with her minimum wage plaint because I and many others did height, weight, vision,
etc. screening for many years as unpaid volunteers when our kids were in school. 1500 middle schoolers or 2800 high school kids check in over 3-4 days. I even did it for five years after my youngest graduated. Fun times.

DataGirl said...

Welcome back I missed my daily chuckle

EDNurseasauras said...

Been there, done that, went back to acute care because, while i loved the kids & teachers, the 'rents were all nuts. Happy new school year Mrs. Grumpy!

Moose said...

Welcome back from vacation, Spiggy. It's time to buy Mrs School Nurse Grumpy a foam bat. You find them in the toddler section of the We R Toys 'n' At. The top part is 100% foam. When you hit someone with it, it stings a little but leaves no bruise. Moose-bob highly recommends them for dealing with nitwits and idjits.

Carrie said...

I am a teacher and sometimes the nurses are the ones that I question.

Example, child who has been squinting and rubbing eyes after reading things at a distances takes an eye screening test from the nurse.

He gets the first one wrong
Her response " no, no, that isn't right, I know you can do this, try again"
To the teacher's shock, the nurse continues with this strategy as he misses them over and over again.

She declares him a perfect 20/20 and suggests that maybe we are asking him to read too much in the room.

No kidding

Susan said...

I'm mother of the year! My daughter has had glasses since she was 8 months old. It went great until she was around 18 months old. We were in the glasses place literally 3 times a week. After she whipped them off and stepped on them, to piss me off, I didn't get them fixed for 2 months. The only reason I got them fixed then was because my mother was coming to visit and she would have freaked. Incidentally, there were no problems after that. She did lose them in the snow once but I did replace. Used those as extra once the snow melted and we found them. Now we deal with contacts - thankfully I'm more mature now.

lynda t said...

Write more often Mrs. Grumpy, even though you have PTSD over this you put out a fantastic post.It made me laugh today!

spectrummom said...

When I came to this rural area, I did BP, cholesterol and glucose screening for free. I got guys in there who hadn't seen a doc in 30 years. When I told them the had high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes I heard "Well, I was fine until YOU got here." no you were just ignorant. And now you're stupid.

Amanda said...

It's moments like this that I feel absolute confidence in my decision to leave eduction for evil, soul-less Corporate America many years ago.

Bless you for what you do -- I only held out six years :)

Jenn said...

Welcome back, she said dryly.

We missed you!

Diana said...

Im a school nurse. Today, the day before school starts for the kids, two parents come in to drop of medications. They are mad because the nurse isnt there. Its 4pm and I get off at 3:30. Ive been there for the last week and they could have come anytime. They could have called me and asked me what time I work until. I did stay until 4pm a couple of times last week for parents. But these people were so put out and let the front office staff know it too. Not a lot of fun being the school nurse. I hate vision and hearing screenings. I spend a lot of time hounding parents to take their kid to the eye doctor. I think if I tell you once that your kid failed the vision test, that I should be done with it. But no, Im required to keep calling and sending letters trying to find out why you didnt take you kid in to get his eyes checked. ( and its not kids without insurance that arent getting their eyes checked or getting glasses). But then every once in a while, you do something very minor and that parent or student is very greatful. And it makes it all seem better again.

Jackie C. said...

Unfortunately I know what you are talking about. The sheer ignorance is appalling. I would give give you my phone number and say "let's chat" but even though the situation is different the results of our talk would be the same, the ignorance of many people. AND they breed and vote. Keep up the standard because there are people who appreciate you and your work, they just aren't as obvious as the ignorant ones. Boy, could I go on a rant about some of the things I have seen.

Anonymous said...

I understand. Today I saw my first "Emergency physical" of this school year. You know, for the kid who got sent home by the nurse 1st day of school for not having the physical their parents were told they needed before LAST school year ended? Several more area districts start this week, I am sure there will be more. Looking forward to more Skool Nurs postings!

cliffintokyo said...

Its really sad to see just how much of a 'state of denial' people can work themselves into when they don't work themselves into a state of solvency...

Anonymous said...

School nurse exams can be good and bad. I told my sil that my nephew needed glasses - few weeks later, she called to tell me the nurse said 'no'. A year later, the eye dr said 'should have had them years ago.' Could explain the academic issues?

My DD has worn glasses since she was 3. 20/200 w/o them. She brought home a paper telling me she needed glasses and I had to get her an exam by a set date. I offered to send the script from the summer exam and it wouldn't work. So, I had the dr do a re-check.

And - I made the son pay for his glasses at age 6 or 7. New ones were ordered and 50% dep down. Pick up @ next paycheck. He took a hissy and thru his, breaking them so we had to pick up ASAP. I made him use some birthday money to pay for them. The next time he broke his glasses he was 17 and fell down a hill.

MBee

Kat's Kats said...

::shudders:: I got my first glasses when I was nine. My grandmother asked what time it was and when I told her she got mad at me. The kitchen clock was a tea kettle shape with tiny white hands. My grandfather then stopped her and asked me over to the window and said, "Do you see the fence?" I said, "What fence?" It was a wired fence about half an acre away. My mother immediately made an appointment with the family optometrist, Dr. Lee.

I came home going, "There are leaves on the trees!!" My ex-squared also wears glasses so I kept an eye on my children as they grew. ::grin:: Of course they had eye exams as part of their yearly physicals. My daughter got her glasses when she was seven and my son when he was nine. I dealt with the broken glasses/lost contact issue by having them pay for them by doing extra chores or paying with birthday/Christmas money. I had more trouble with my son than with my daughter. I'm not sure whether to attribute that to his gender or to the fact that he has Aspergers as well as add/bipolar, which they both have.

Helen said...

I am so sorry you need to put up with this. I don't think people realize you are doing them a favor.

I was diagnosed as partially deaf when I was nine, it made my mom feel bad. Prior to the diagnosis, she would punish me for lying about not hearing her call.

Maybe the parents you encountered now feel remorse because they punished their child, instead of trying to figure out the root of the problem.

It's easier to say "your a crummy nurse" then "I'm a bad parent".

Chris said...

Wow. Personally, I don't think my daughter's school (or school nurse) should be responsible for vision/hearing tests. It's nice that they do it, but I think the PARENTS should be responsible for that kind of thing. Call me crazy, I guess.... I thought the school nurse was for there "emergency" type things - scraped knee on the playground, fell down in gym, that kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

My son's school doesn't even have a nurse. It's a public school, too. If a kid gets sick the secretary usually just calls the parents or tells the kid to call his or her parents to come and pick them up. Sometimes she will take a temp, but I don't think she's all that accurate since she once told someone that their child had a temp of 80 and then a few days later she told another parent that his child had a temp of 130.

Anonymous said...

Doulas C. Kenney. Nice. I didn't get the reference at first, and thought you might have slipped up and revealed some "localizing data", so to speak. Good one ;)

Ms. Donna said...

WELCOME Back, Dr. Yak Herder.

Mrs. G is really getting it from the parents. How does she handle the "Your child has Pediculosis capitis" (Head Lice for the non-Latinate)? Bet that one is a howler, too.

Mockingbird said...

Wow, I guess it's really true what Ibee says about you.
Oh, how's Craig's hair?

Doglady said...

This reminds me of the mom who called me on a Friday at 10 pm, crying. She asked me why I had given her daughter a C!
I wanted to tell her that I didn't give her the C, she had earned it. Turned out, a missing assignment was the culprit. Mom found it in the special drawer where she keeps the kid's work. I asked her if it had a grade on it - nope, no grade. Huh.

Anonymous said...

God Bless you, Mrs Grumpy!!!! Honestly, people are CRAZY no matter where you go. It never ceases to amaze me how consistently selfish people can be.

I don't know how you do it. The head lice alone would throw me right over the edge. I had one who got it last year. I steamed my entire house...from the carpets to the car seats and everything in between, washed every item in our home that would fit in the washer, treated her hair and then flat ironed it to fry any remaining eggs every day or so for a month until I was SURE there was not an egg that had ANY chance of surviving the onslaught. As you can imagine, a LOT of work. My husband or I check her hair every night and within 3 months, we found another one...round two...steam, wash, iron... I think these same parents are too busy going to the movies or who knows what to put the time in to make sure their kids are ok and it ends up costing me hours and hours of work...time I would otherwise be spending having fun w/my family.

These people will be the first to complain if you don't twist yourself up in a knot for them, but you had better not place responsibility where it belongs - with them...ugh. There just aren't words for the frustration.

Enjoy the kids b/c they are just amazing!

Sal Paradise said...

Douglas C Kenney Elementary? Brilliant!

"Well, what the hell we supposed to do, ya moron?"

RIP. funny man.

SentWest said...

I wish I had had you for a school nurse. I went through the screening when I was 8, and couldn't even see the big "E" at the top. The nurse thought I was faking, so didn't tell my parents.

I also had the sudden "Trees have leaves!" experience. It's pretty awesome. It's like the world goes from 8-bit to HDMI in an instant.

Anonymous said...

Chris, honestly, parents can miss the need for eyeglasses or hearing aids for years upon years. Kids grow up not knowing that anything is wrong, so they don't say anything and they manage so well the parents don't pick up on it. That's really why they do the screening. They aren't entire tests, they only screen to see if you meet minimum visual acuity and hearing thresholds.

Lice anon: next time, hire someone to nitpick. Seriously, people do that for money and they will spend the hours needed so you don't have the stress of doing so.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad my mother was sane, and not a member of the idiotic mass of parents we see today.

If it weren't for her being, you know a real parent, I might have been 6 or 7 before I ever got glasses, not just 2. These wonderful pits of plastic and metal have saved me so much trouble it unreal.

Anonymous said...

Love this. I am and optometrist and this time of year is "back to school" mode at the office. I don't know which is worse - kids who want glasses and parents who don't believe you that their kid is faking and doesn't actually need a vision correction ("but he couldn't even read those big letters correctly on the chart"!), or the ones who don't believe you when you say that their child can't see properly and will suffer at school without glasses ("but can't we just wait until next year? I have no money! *texts on iPhone*). Ugh. yes, I hate you and your child, and I am lying to you for fun.


BeadHappy said...

Welcome back Dr. Grumpy! (Getting new glasses this weekend.)

 
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