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What would a school nurse do...

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if a student passed out, or nearly passed out in class? Does anyone know? Our school is too small to have a nurse, and I just don't remember enough from when I was a kid. That and I never actually blacked out in school. ;) I assume they might be equipped to take blood pressure and call Mom and maybe the doctor? Is there any special protocol I should know about that a public school nurse has to go through?  :coldsick: (my ode to the nurse smiley)

Thank you!
#1 - October 04, 2011, 01:27 PM
Robin

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I can speak from my own experience, but the system in Australia may be different, not sure.

When I fainted, the class teacher was immediately alerted and contacted the school nurse to come. This could be done using the phone, or getting another student to find the nurse.
I think the class teacher just forces everyone away to give the student room. And funny enough the school nurse actually came with a wheelchair to wheel you off to her clinic. There the nurse checks  the student out and see whether it's serious and she tries figure out what happened.
If she doesn't think it's too bad, she'll call you parents and send you home for the day. Or if it's something dire the school nurse will call a hospital etc.

Hope that helps! :D
#2 - October 04, 2011, 02:17 PM

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I work in a public school, and yeah, the wheelchair would be used. The teacher would call and the nurse would come running with the chair; take the student back to the nurse's office and probably do blood pressure and temperature. There are two doctor-room style cot/beds where the child would lie down. I'm sure the parents would be called, and the child would most probably go home. I think the nurse would encourage the parent to call their doctor. If the child actually did faint, it would be a big deal.

If a kid felt really faint but didn't keel over, I imagine the teacher would call the nurse and let her know, and the nurse would make the call as to whether or not to bring the chair. I think they would always err on the side of safety, though. And the child would definitely get checked out by the nurse.

If they were just a little faint, probably the head between the knees deal until they felt okay, then having someone walk with them to the nurse would do.
#3 - October 04, 2011, 04:06 PM

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Agree with what's been said -- also, our elementary school has a large food allergy/medical issue population, so nearly every teacher (it seems!) has a walkie-talkie they carry everywhere, so they can always reach the nurse if an emergency. I'm not sure about the official "protocol" though I imagine there is one. (if you like, I can find out for you -- my diabetic kid is in that med issue population, so the nurse, who is beyond awesome, and I are very BFF now, and email multiple times throughout the day  ::)  )
#4 - October 04, 2011, 04:15 PM

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I have a 13YO now, so what happened back in the Dark Ages when I was in school might be different now, but, from personal experience:

I was sitting in class in 11th grade and suddenly felt lightheaded. The next thing I knew, a couple of teachers were carrying me down to the office, where they put me on a couch sort of thing where the nurse was. (Um...talk about embarrassing!) The nurse asked me if I had skipped breakfast (I hadn't). I'm pretty sure the nurse and the teachers thought I had fainted due to an eating disorder (I had never even dieted, let alone had any kind of eating disorder.) The nurse may have taken my blood pressure, I can't remember. But mostly, they called my parents to get me. I went to a doctor, who did even less than the nurse had, said, "Some people just faint," and sent me back to school. Yes, all in the same day!

I would keep my kid home for the rest of the day, no matter what the medical people said.
#5 - October 04, 2011, 04:18 PM

Jenna - I would *love* if you could ask your school nurse about that next time you talk. I just don't want to get it wrong if there's a specific protocol and I'm guessing at this point (and being failed by google)  A boy in my daughter's class was diagnosed with diabetes in first grade and his mom (and 3 year old brother) just shadowed him all year. I feel like a nurse would be an excellent thing for the school to have...  

Olmue - thank you for sharing that! I can't believe you were sent back to school. Though I've been told by countless doctors "some people just faint" (I haven't - but I've been close a lot through three pregnancies. Pregnancies seem to make me want to faint...) That phrase makes me really angry now. ;)
#6 - October 04, 2011, 04:23 PM
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I actually fainted twice in high school. That time had no rhyme or reason. The other time, I tripped over a ball in PE (we were playing dodgeball--another no-no today!) and I landed funny and did sudden, serious damage to the bones inside my foot. The PE teacher (who I had never seen since the first day of class--she sat in her office while a student or aide got us started) actually emerged from her sanctuary. I was sitting down because my foot HURT, so she made me get up and walk on it. My body didn't like that one bit, and I pitched right over in a dead faint. When I came to, the PE teacher was trying to make me sit up and drink water. Um... Even I knew that you put a person's head down for fainting! I don't remember going to the office at all for that one. I did see a doctor after school, but after two x-rays (one of each foot to compare), they couldn't tell if I'd broken anything. (I did. And it didn't heal right, and it still pops funny if I walk on it wrong.)

I loved many things about my school, but looking on the medical side as an adult, um... And maybe I should have gone to a different doctor, too.
#7 - October 04, 2011, 04:34 PM

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Robin, happy to!  I'll shoot her an email tomorrow.  DD was diagnosed less than 18 months ago, and I had no idea that all schools didn't have the support we do.  We are so lucky to have a full-time nurse, AND one who is experienced with helping kids manage their diabetes.  I've heard stories similar to the one you told, about moms spending days in the cafeteria and peeking in the classroom every hour to check on the kid, testing the blood sugars all day, etc., etc. I can't imagine how hard it is -- not that my time is worry-free when DD is at school, but at least I trust that she is in very capable hands. (And is just up the street. In case.) 

Growing up, we always had a nurse. It wasn't until I became a teacher that I realized that it wasn't actually the norm. It's befuddling, really....
#8 - October 04, 2011, 04:41 PM

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At our school (public school, grades 6-12) you would have to faint on a Thursday for the nurse to be involved because that's the only day she's there. On any other day it would be the teacher, secretary, and principal (if he's in the building) who would have to handle it. We'd bring the wheelchair and call the parents. If the child is out longer than a couple of minutes or has hit his/her head, we'd call 911.
#9 - October 04, 2011, 06:19 PM

Thank you, Jenna!!
Thank you, Deb for the other perspective, too. May I ask if your school is in a smallish town? Just curious. The book is set in a small town. My own city is not at all small, but my kids' school is, so no budget for a nurse... I can't imagine we even have a wheelchair.
Olmue - I'm so glad you made it to adulthood in one piece - well, sort of one piece. ;) I remember being pregnant (of course) and waking up to a "pop" and then just losing it. I started throwing up and nearly went into a faint. Found out later I'd broken a ligament in my stomach. It's funny how the body knows something is wrong and just shuts down. It probably fainted so your lovely PE teacher couldn't make you do any more damage!

Thank you to J Friday and Fiona, too!

Currently I have the child being taken to the nurse's office, having her bp checked, and then turned over to her mother. It sounds like that seems reasonable at this point...
#10 - October 05, 2011, 01:22 PM
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Public schools now have WHEELCHAIRS?! I never fainted at school, but I sprained my ankle badly--TWICE (and once had the sixth grade teacher CARRY me to her car so she could drive me home)--*and* I once split my head open on the playground, and I STILL had to walk to the nurse's office! As far as I remember, the woman never left her station; if you were in serious trouble, your teacher walked you there. Otherwise you toddled off alone. I knew lots of girls who'd contrive excuses to spend a class period or two there just for the ice packs.
#11 - October 05, 2011, 01:51 PM

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Thank you, Deb for the other perspective, too. May I ask if your school is in a smallish town? Just curious. The book is set in a small town. My own city is not at all small, but my kids' school is, so no budget for a nurse... I can't imagine we even have a wheelchair.

Our city is fairly large with a school population of around 20,000. We do have a wheelchair -- a fold-up model that's an ugly green color, but it works for the few times we have needed it.

Whoops! I didn't mean that our school had 20,000 students. I meant that our district has that many!  :ohmy
#12 - October 14, 2011, 05:01 PM
« Last Edit: October 14, 2011, 05:28 PM by Deb Cushman »

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My daughter had a friend who had low blood pressure and fainted quite a few times. The school called an ambulance until she had a doctor's instructions on file. I know we are required to call 911 if there's a lack of consciousness (even seizures), but we're pre-K.
#13 - October 14, 2011, 05:25 PM

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