How Triage Nurses can Help Patients Prepare for School Time
And additional advice for parents
A new school year means a new batch of germs. Parents often struggle with when to keep their child home and when it is okay to send them to school with minor symptoms. Triage nurses can help with those decisions, even when the office is closed. During office hours, doctors and nurses can provide advice over the phone to help parents. Nurses in the office can use electronic triage protocols such as the Schmitt-Thompson protocols to ensure documentation and that patients get the best level of care for their symptoms. When offices are closed, doctor offices have the option of using an outsourced triage nurse company. Specially trained triage nurses such as TriageLogic® nurse triage on call nurses work seamlessly as an extension of the doctor office when offices are closed.
There are times when children definitely need to be home resting, such as when they have a fever, have illnesses such as diagnosed influenza or pinkeye, or when they are too ill to participate in class activities. Specially trained telephone triage nurses will work together with the parent to assess the severity of the child’s symptoms and offer home care advice and symptoms that would warrant a visit to the doctor or emergency room. Nurse triage is there to help the parent and patient find the best path to health and get the child back in the classroom.
In addition to being available to answer questions, offices can also help parents by providing education on how to help prevent their child from the contagious viruses and diseases before school starts, as well as throughout the year.
Here is a reference guide of key information to teach parents. You can print this guideline to make it available for your patients.
As Summer Ends
Most schools require children to have vaccinations. A summer visit to the pediatrician will make certain all vaccinations are up to date and in accordance with state requirements. Vaccine-preventable diseases are rare but have seen a recent reemergence. In 2014, 27 states reported a total of 668 cases of measles to the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). As of July 22, 2016, there have already been 48 reported cases in 13 states.
Vaccinations help keep a child from developing the disease, should they come in contact with it. Each parent should be encouraged to speak with their pediatrician about the risks and benefits of immunizations.
Getting Back on the School Schedule
In order to be sure that everything is prepared, planning should start a month before school starts. The CDC recommends at least 10 hours of sleep for school-aged children. Parents should slowly start moving their child’s bedtime earlier over the last month of summer to ensure that they will be back on schedule for the school year. Being well-rested is a great defense to many viruses that a child will come into contact with during the school year.
Throughout the School Year
Never underestimate the importance of good nutrition when it comes to protecting the body against illness. Eating healthy will help boost a child’s immune system to aid in fighting off the many germs they will encounter at school. Fresh fruit and vegetables need to be a part of each meal. Lean protein, like fish, eggs and beans, will build muscle. Milk, cheese and other fresh dairy products will make those growing bones stronger. Whole grains, like wheat bread and oatmeal, can give their body energy to make it through the school day. Items such as sugar, and saturated and trans fats need to be limited. Good eating habits start from home. Be sure to have healthy snacks and meals ready to go.
Stress increases when school starts. Stress can be self-induced, like putting too much pressure on oneself to make good grades or make the sports team. It can also be induced from the outside by other students in the form of peer pressure or bullying, or even from parents and teachers. Too much stress can cause illnesses from headaches, sleep problems, and stomachaches, to children regressing and withdrawing socially.
Parents need to know that creating a stable environment with open communication at home will be the best way to help the student handle all of the stresses from school.
The incidents of cold-like symptoms seem to increase when school starts up. Children in school share books, desks, pencils and lockers, all of which can be infected with a cold virus. Once touched, if the child touches their eyes, nose or mouth before washing their hands, they could become infected with that virus. The good news is that once a child is exposed to a cold virus, the body will develop antibodies against that particular virus. The bad news is that there are hundreds of viruses that cause cold like symptoms.
Parents should teach their child to wash his or her hands frequently, especially before and after eating, and after using the restroom.
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