Schools are full of kids, germs, noises, and stress, and inevitably one of these factors is going to send your child to the nurse’s office. In order for this process to go as smoothly as possible, it’s important to prepare your school nurse, your child, and yourself in advance.
Communicate with the School Nurse
Does your child have a weak stomach? Do they suffer from seasonal allergies or headaches? Do they tend to hide when they’re feeling unwell, or do they clamor for attention? This is the kind of information that may not show up in the medical information the school has about your child, but is still integral to your child’s well-being. Having an open channel of communication between you and the school nurse can ensure that your child receives the best possible care while they aren’t feeling well at school.
Find out what the school’s policies are towards sick kids, including:
· How they decide whether to send a child back to class, keep them in the office, or send them home.
· Whether the child is allowed to call you from the office phone whenever they want, or only when the nurse decides it’s necessary.
If your child has a special health issue, such as asthma, allergies, or diabetes, find out whether the nurse has experience dealing with these issues. You can provide them with information about your child’s specific care needs or request that the school send them to additional training.
Let Your Child Know What to Expect
Once you’ve gleaned the above information from the school nurse, you can then have a conversation with your child about what the nurse’s office is there for, when it’s appropriate to go there, and what they can expect once they arrive. Already stressed out from feeling sick, kids can get inordinately upset when told that they have to rest on a cot for half an hour before the nurse will call their parents. But, if they know what the process is going in, they can feel a little more at ease and comfortable.
· On the other hand, they may be feeling emotionally, if not physically, upset and need a place to hide out for a while. A lot of kids express emotional discomfort through physical means: saying “I have a headache” instead of “I’m upset.”
Make a plan with your child that outlines what they can expect from the nurse’s office and addresses the possible reasons – emotional and physical, honest and dishonest – that they want to go there.
Spend Less Time in the Waiting Room
When your child is sick at school and needs to be taken home, you or the nurse may also come to the conclusion that they should also see a doctor. In a perfect world, you would pick your child up and take them straight to the doctor’s office. However, getting an appointment at most medical offices can take up to several days – you’re lucky if your child can be seen the same day when you call the office at 8am.
· If you have one or more kids in grade school, or have a job that makes it difficult to take a whole afternoon off to wait for a doctor visit, consider adding a health program membership to supplement your current insurance. The , for example, enable you to see a doctor who handles far fewer patients. As a result, waiting times are far shorter – and your doctor gets the time to
Feeling sick in school doesn’t have to be a big deal for your child. They may lie down for half an hour and then feel well enough to return to class. They may stick it out until you can pick them up at lunch. Or, they may need to you get them from the school to the doctor’s office as quickly as possible. In any of these cases, preparing in advance will make your child’s illness easier for everyone to deal with.
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