Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Where are the parents?

I haven't been posting recently due to a swampload of work with both Nursing, the part time job, and my thesis work.

This week I had the opportunity to observe in the paediatric Emergency Department at the local children's hospital. Although paediatrics isn't my thing, I am more and more convinced that ER nursing is where I could fit. I like the system that is set up at this particular ER, for both adult and paediatrics (I even had the opportunity to observe in the Adult Emerg in the resuscitation room)

Today I was shown how lack of parenting is effecting the treatment of children, and how nurses sometimes have to be firm to get the point across.

This one child and his parents came into triage today. Apparently the child had had a series of respiratory infections, which eventually spread into a fairly serious case of otitis media; a fancy way of saying an ear infection. Anyway, the parents had taken him to the urgent care center here in town about 4 days ago, had been given the diagnosis, and had been given a prescription for the medication to treat it. The parents filled the prescription, and had also been giving the child some children's analgesics for the pain. Here is where the problem lies. The child is a fussy child, and the only child of the parents. He's 4 years old, and doesn't like hospitals. This is totally understandable for a sick child who maybe associates doctors or nurses with needles and pain. What got me was that because he was a fussy child at home, he had refused to take the prescription medication. Again, totally understandable, because he's a fussy child. Which brings me to the crux of this rant: The parents did not make him take the medication. Here is a child of 4 dictating what he can and cannot get medically! What sense does this make? What type of parents are these that don't even give medication needed to benefit the child? Who are the parents here? I would be more able to understand if they had some cultural or religious views on this particular medication and could not administer it for that reason, but to not give a child medication that he needs because the CHILD DID NOT FEEL LIKE TAKING IT? Come on!

So now the child has a worse ear infection, is in more pain, and the parents are at children's emergency because the ear was now leaking purulent drainage. Surprise surprise that the ear infection got worse. I had a hard time observing this because the child did NOT want his temperature taken as well, and the parents were trying to reason the kid into doing it. OK after teaching the kid what we're going to do, sometimes the parents need to take control of the child and do something for his/her benefit. Again, the parents did not step up. I was really tempted to hold his arm down to help the triage nurse, but alas, it is not my role to do that, it was the parents.

What happend? Why aren't parents stepping up to the plate? Don't they know that by their intent to not "hurt" or cause the child any discomfort, they are actually making the child worse?

I'm glad the ER nurse sat down with the parents after this and discussed the situation. I just hope they have learned a lesson from this. I sure have.


Anonymous said...

As a nurse and a mom of 4, I diagnose you as childless. I have one kid out of the four that no one in the world can get to take medicine. When it is forced on him, he vomits it up. Last time he was sick, we had to do IM shots for three days because it was literally not possible to get medicine in him.
People without kids always know way more about childrearing than those in the middle of it. Enjoy your wisdom, till you have kids of your own

Anonymous said...

i dunno about that.... i dont have kids but there is a clear difference in the kids that i babysit: the one whose parents never are strict is spoiled and really annoying, and the one who actually has rules is the swettest little kid you have ever met. more often than not, a childs behaiour is dierctly influenced by the parents' parenting skills