|Whatever you do, don't you dare try this at a walk-in clinic or you will be called ignorant by Nurse Baffled! This is just inappropriate and such Tom Foolery will NOT be tolerated any more!|
Dear Annie: I am a nurse at a walk-in clinic. When did it become OK for parents to help themselves to exam gloves and tongue depressors for the purpose of entertaining their children?
It is not unusual to walk into the exam room and find several gloves that have been blown up and are being batted around and children running around the room with tongue depressors in their hands. These medical supplies cost the facility money and are meant for medical use, not party favors. It also is not safe to hand a 3-year-old a tongue depressor. We have stickers that are more appropriate.
When my children were little, I would never dream of opening containers in the doctor's office. Is this appropriate behavior? Do people believe they are entitled to these supplies because of the cost of medical care? Or are they simply ignorant? -- Baffled Nurse in Indiana
Annie - can I answer this one please???
Dear Baffled Nurse in Indiana,
Who is ignorant here? Tis not I, but you, my dear. This was an incredibly ignorant and offensive letter.
I am one of the mothers to whom you judge and condemn, so I will speak for others in my shoes to respond to you Nurse Baffled.
If someone brings their babies in to a walk-in clinic, they are probably pretty sick. They wait in the waiting room. They get moved to an examining room. They wait. And they wait. And then they wait some more. Children get antsy, they get scared, they get bored. Have you looked at the examining room of your walk-in clinic? Most likely, there are no toys, no books, and there is nothing to look at it other than a "why you should quit smoking today" placard. And that doesn't buy a nervous toddler much time.
Blowing up a hand glove into a balloon is a safe and easy way to make them giggle while they wait, not to mention the fact that it detracts from the fear they have of being sick or seeing a doctor. A glove balloon does not break anything, it doesn't hurt anyone, it doesn't make a mess, and it makes them happy. I have bought boxes of latex gloves before and know they are very inexpensive, so I am going to go ahead and assume that if every child that walks in that clinic takes one glove, it is not enough to sink a clinic for poor money management. If anything, it is a brilliant, money saving investment that helps the clinic get through the day successfully without screaming toddlers disturbing other patients. Who wouldn't spend pennies a day to ensure that?
Due to the increasing rise in health insurance, we pay almost $100 a visit, per child. So yes, to answer your question, I most certainly do think I am entitled to a stupid latex glove during my visit! Oh, and your bright idea of a sticker that you give the kids AFTER the appointment doesn't help us at all during the 30 minute wait to see the doctor.
When my youngest was 18 months old, he had to have a serious procedure that was terrifying for all of us. One simple blown up latex balloon brought him more joy in the prep room than one could possibly imagine. Lucky for us, our nurse was only too happy to oblige, unlike you, who would've been pissed if we chose to ease our child's pain with one of your precious gloves. Of all of the countless, crazy, disturbing things that you must see as a nurse, this is what you choose to focus on?
Regarding Popsicle sticks, our Doctor made it his routine to come in, say hello and give the children a Popsicle stick to hold on to while he examined them... It was something they came to expect when he walked in. I would've never let them reach into a container to get one, but knowing how much they enjoyed getting one, I encouraged them to take it when the Doctor gave it. I realize that some idiot parents let their child 'run around' as you stated, the whole perimeter of the tiny box of an examining room, thus risking injury, and you are lumping all of us into that because you are trying to prove a point, but that doesn't mean the majority of us can't handle our toddler having it in their mouth for a few minutes. If you are so worked up about the Popsicle sticks, then suggest to your clinic that they lock them up in the cabinet so the kids can't touch them. Wow. That was an easy solution..but you chose, instead, to prove your point by writing to an advice columnist and chastize thousands of parents who have committed this terrible crime.
No running allowed in this huge examining room!
In conclusion, I will give you my suggestion . Why don't you get out of Nursing and find something that doesn't involve people...perhaps since you are so worried about the bottom line of walk-in clinics, etc, you should be an accountant! Now there's something you clearly have the personality for. That was my two cents, and here's another two cents to pay for the cost of the 4 gloves I have taken in my lifetime.