Friday, December 4, 2009

Advice for parents of hospitalized children-from a pediatric nurse

After a long and frustrating shift at work tonight I decided I should post some tips for parents of hospitalized children.  Please keep these things in mind should your child ever need to be hospitalized (though some of these tips could be used on an every day basis too!).

*yep I drew this picture on the computer while at work during one of those rare quite times

1)   If there is some kind of beeping in your room and I don't hear it, please put your call light on before coming in the hallway to complain that something has been beeping for 10 minutes.  If it's annoying you, put your call light on.  More importantly, beeps usually mean something is wrong so please don't ignore them.

2)  Do not tell your child that his/her medicine is candy or that it tastes like candy.  I can't begin to tell you the trouble it causes.

3)  If your child is hitting, kicking, pulling the nurses' hair or attempting to bite the nurse, please step in and tell your child to stop.  More importantly, please discipline your child when needed so that we avoid these situations in the first place.

4)  If you bring your other children to the hospital, they are your responsibility, not mine.

5)  Hospital floors are gross.  Do not let your child roll around on them while throwing a tantrum.

6)  Just because the curtain is closed does not mean you can sleep in just your underware.  Should I need to wake you, I do not want to see it.

7)  Along that same line, just because the curtain is closed doesn't mean we can't hear you.  Please refrain from doing activities that should be reserved for your bedroom at home.  A children's hospital is not the place for that type of stuff.

8)  Please do not say to your child "here comes the bad nurse".  That's not fair to me and only makes my job harder.

9)  Before making life/death decisions, please think about your child's quality of life 20 years from now.
10)  If your child is screaming for attention please do not ignore them.  I am your child's nurse, not their nanny.  It is not my job to entertain them while you watch TV.  If you want to ignore your child, go home.

11)  If you want a good night's sleep, go home.  Yes I do need to turn the lights on to assess your child if things are not going well.

12)  Please do not lie to your child and tell them you are "just going to the bathroom" and never come back.  They learn to never trust anyone.

13)  Please do not lie to your nurse and say you are "going to dinner and will be back in an hour" and never come back.  I don't care if you come back or not, just don't tell me you will be back and then not show up.  I told your child you would be right back and now he/she is mad at me.

14)  Please do not drop your child off and not come back until an hour before discharge.  Your child is scared and needs you during this hospitalization.  The nurses need to educate you on things and the doctors need your help to make decisions.

15)  I am not your maid.  I am happy to get your child his/her water but you can get your own.

I think that sums it up for now.  If I think of any more I will certainly let you know! 

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Robinlynn said...

Amen Siser!!! Spot on for every one of your pieces of advise!
I am a NICU nurse and and I give you tons of credit for doing what you do. I would not want any other job in the world but there are days when I just would love to say some of these things to our parents.

The only thing I would add to your list is this. When picking out a name for your child please remember this. Your little person will have to live with that name, be taunted by that name and have to explain that name for the REST of their lives. Making up a name, adding hyphens where they don't belong and just generally giving them a name that they may not ever learn to spell is mean.

Just my two sense. Love your blog by the way! Thanks. Robinlynn

*Jess* said...

wow, parents really DO that? Unbelievable!

Erykah said...

I've done more than my share of stints in the hospital and by reading your tips, I can understand why the nurses said I was a great mom. My only concern was making sure baby was ok and I would fend for myself.

Heidi said...

Sounds like a very very frustrating day for you!

I have never understood parents who leave while their kids are in the hospital. I mean really...where else do you have to be that is more important?! Obviously breaks are sometimes needed (it is stressful- been there) but yeah.


Jamie H said...

Robinlynn, I forgot about the name thing! I completely agree with you!!

Carolyn Watson Dubisch said...

Having my kid in the hospital was exhausting, stressful, miserable... making parenting mistakes, like letting one's miserable, sick kid throw a tantrum on the floor seems understandable.

...Though some of those other things are very disturbing.

Bellismom said...

Eew! Number seven grossed me out. And although I hope you are not and I doubt you ever will be Belli's nurse you will be happy to know that I follow all of those rules and you would love me as a parent of one of your patients!

Jen said...

Great never surprises what we see as nurses. As one of my coworker nurse's says, "you just can't make this stuff up."

Cop Mama said...

Good points! Glad you had a chance to come to for venting your frustrations! It's hard when you have to be professional when you see such behavior.

Melanie said...

I have had two children hospitalized for only a week (at different times) and although life was very stressful at the time and I felt I needed to get the heck out of the hospital for some sanity I could never and did never leave my children. I just cannot imagine a parent leaving their child in the hospital. What is more important than your sick child?

Kate said...

I can't believe that parents do those things!

#6 made me laugh. #7 grossed me out. Seriously? People would do that in a hospital? While their child was sick? And THERE? GROSS.

Keeslermom said...

#7-REALLY??!! I can't even imagine walking in on THAT! I also can't imagine leaving my child alone at the hospital for more than the time it takes to eat. Poor babies!

Deborah said...

Im not in the health profession, never have been. I have also been blessed to not have either of my children fall ill.
But, seriously... the majority of these things disgust me!
Our society has become so...
ARGH... Im not going to even go there.
Im sorry you go thru this. I give all Nurses and physicaians ALOT of credit for the crud they have to put up with on a daily basis.

Jessica said...

I find none of these unbelievable after working on a monitored/medical/surgical floor. The only one that really made me chuckle and go WHAT?!?! was the curtain being closed and people doing what should be done in the bedroom at home! WOW!

Barb said...

I have spent more nights in the hospital in sons 11 years than I care to count due to different things with his spina bifida. I am appalled that any parent would do any of these things but I have seen so much of it first hand. Well, except for the going out in the hall to get a nurse. I admit to being very guilty of that! I know when it is just air in the line or the HR being set to close so I will usually poke my head out to say "when you have a minute, can you adjust this?"

My heart just breaks for those kids whose parents literally just drop them off. They are so scared! I have never, ever been able to comprehend that. Our son has never once been left without a family member in the room, or at least nearby. The closet thing to me doing that is walking to the vending machine to get coffee/soda in the middle of the night when he won't sleep and I NEED caffeine. Although, he is 11 now and understands more of "mom will be just down the hall, I need a diet coke :)"

Sleeping in your underwear? OMG, who would do that? You never really get to 'sleep' in the hospital. You are bound to have to get up at some point. Get some sweats! and the other thing? are you serious? who could ever, ever think of doing that?

Anonymous said...

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