Every year we have a couple of kids who qualify for that unique title of "Nurse Groupie". These kids will find a reason, no matter how big or small, to spend some time with the school nurse.
Nurse Groupies are not that unusual in middle school, although they tend to really flourish in elementary school with its corresponding numbers of boo-boos, infectious diseases, and just overall germiness. Elementary kids tend to actually need a school nurse more. Middle school students tend to become nurse groupies as a way of Getting Out of Class.
However, this year we have a student who quite truly tops them all when it comes to a Nurse Groupie. This kid doesn't just want to see the nurse once a day (which is pretty excessive), she wants to see the nurse Every Freaking Period of The School Day.
We noticed this the first week or so of school and quickly put a plan in place to keep track of her nurse visits in her agenda. Every other student gets a "go see the nurse form" filled out and off they go - Nurse Groupie has to have her agenda checked as well so we can see if she's already been that day. Mrs. Language has become, poor thing, an email pen pal with Nurse Groupie's Mom, and we had approval from her to limit the visits to once a day.
I do have Nurse Groupie the last period of the day, so by the time she lands in my room, she's already used up her visit. But there are times she'll ask to go, and it will run like this:
"Mrs. B, I need to see the nurse," she'll whisper (I can barely hear this kid talk even on a good day).
"Well, what for?" I'll ask as we have to put a description on the nurse form.
"I have a headache," or "My side hurts," or my favorite, "I need an aspirin for my allergies."
At the last one, I tend to blink at the kid and inform her that I too, suffer from allergies, and I've never needed an aspirin for them.
In any case, we've had two parent meetings with Mom who, on one hand, wants the kid in class instead of at the nurse because she's failing. (Big surprise, she misses instruction and then is absent a lot and never makes up anything.) On the other hand, she feeds into this constant litany of aches and pains and headaches and allergies and blurry vision and stuffy noses and.....
The last parent meeting involved the nurse, an administrator, and Nurse Groupie along with Mom. We basically said that she wasn't going to be able to go see the nurse unless it was a Dire Emergency because she was, again, failing and she needed to be in class. The Nurse backed us up and said the visits were, "just a bit unnecessary." Mom said she wasn't to go to the nurse again unless it was an emergency. Nurse Groupie blinked and nodded her head.
The next day Nurse Groupie said her side hurt. The day after it was blurry vision. The day after that it was a backache.
At this point I can't wait to see how she handles her 40's when every bit of your body can ache on a bad day.
In any case, Mrs. Language emailed her best Pen Pal, Nurse Groupie's Mom and informed her that NG apparently didn't get it.
The response...surprised us. It started off with an excuse about the blurry eyes (eye drops). She then, amazingly, grew a backbone and said that unless NG was on the floor throwing up, bleeding, or generally on death's door, she was not to leave the classroom to see the nurse. And mom, bless her heart, was giving us the latitude to make our own judgments as to whether she needed to see the nurse or not.
You can bet we printed that email out and put it in her folder as well as forwarded it to the Nurse and The Principal.
An interestingly enough...two days without requesting to see the nurse. Maybe she'll survive after all.
Update 3/9/10...Well, I was wrong. She requested to go three times today. Mom emailed and said she had a headache this morning and a stuffy nose. Of course, her excuse for me was she needed "girl products". Nothing about headache, stuffy nose, the plague...Oh good gracious.