Toileting His Majesty

Something I do very rarely in my position is the "dirty" work of nursing. I give insulin every day, but I'm nearly done with my second year of school nursing, and last week was the first time I found myself responsible for changing a student, a 6th grader with muscular dystrophy. I teamed up with another nurse and we got to work, having run over to the school during a break in scoliosis screening halfway across town. The student's aide was out on bereavement, the back-up aides out sick, and our own LVN, who would have been third in line, was off that day. I don't think anyone can pretend it's rocket science to change a diaper, whether for a baby or a 6th grader, and we finished our work quickly so we could get back to the other school in time. The student wasn't happy, missing his usual aide who has been with him since kindergarten, and let that fact be known to his mother when he got home. It was hardly a surprise, then, when I opened my email a couple days later to find something from one of the "higher-ups" in the district office letting me know a complaint about my work had been received regarding that day's toileting experience. I have grown accustomed to parent complaints about everything I do wrong, but about toileting? How incompetent have I become?

You can't please everyone, and there were a couple take-home lessons from this experience. One, do a job badly enough and you won't be asked to do it again. Mom specifically asked that the other nurse and I do not touch her son again, even if all aides are out, and I was happy to oblige that request. Second, I do not miss changing people, no matter what size. Cheers to the CNAs and people of other titles that do this work for us. Third, it may never cease to amaze me how parents can take their kid's complaint to heart over. The mother does not want two registered nurses taking care of her son, because he said so. Never mind that we did a completely safe and thorough job all while he was complaining about us right to our faces and being totally disrepectful. Awesome - beaten by a 12 year old, again.

1 comment:

  1. I'm amazed about the things some special needs parents complain about. Maybe I should be more harsh in critiquing what is done with my son, but a report of at least one change per shortened day and a diaper / ileostomy area in good shape and I'm happy. My son also has Muscular dystrophy, but he also has respect for those who take care of him, maybe that's a big difference too.